Who Storm hitman Kaufusi fears most
FORGET the fact Felise Kaufusi has emerged as one of the competition's genuine hitmen. The softly spoken Kaufusi is more fearful of a Craig Bellamy spray than any opposition player.
After a slow post-Origin stint, Kaufusi was summoned to Bellamy's office in the lead-up to Melbourne's opening finals match against South Sydney.
Kaufusi knew what he was in for.
"He calls me into his office to show me some video and it's generally not a good thing," Kaufusi said.
"I dread going in there. It's not usually good thing he shows but it's just the way he coaches.
"Craig challenged me. He said he prodded me with a stick. I needed to step up. That's what was needed to help the team.
"I'm pretty relaxed. I'm not really fazed too much by anything. Craig does try to stir me up a little bit.
"He tries everything. Whatever he has been doing it's been working.
"Little words here and there of encouragement and what he wants to see from me on the game day.
"I don't like those conversations but if he does need to fire me up it is what it is."
What followed was arguably the Kangaroos and Maroons back-rowers best performance in the top grade. He overpowered Sam Burgess before backing up the performance with another strong showing against Cronulla last week.
"I tried to aim up that Souths game," Kaufusi said.
"It was one of my better ones for the year. I wanted to match it against Cronulla and carry it into the grand final.
"Craig has told me I play my best when I'm aggressive and I need to do it from the get go.
"You saw it in the Souths game, if I play aggressive I play well. He was pretty happy with my performance. He keeps me pretty level-headed."
The laconic Kaufusi's personality can at times be at odds with the highly intense Bellamy. Storm teammate Jesse Bromwich said Bellamy knew how to unlock Kaufusi's aggressive edge.
"Fus (Kaufusi) is going great," Bromwich said.
"He is quite a relaxed guy. He doesn't fire up too often off the field. He has been running with intent. He has been consistently one of our best forwards
"It's been great to see. He has come a long way. I've been lucky enough to work with him the last few years and seeing his confidence and intent in his game is awesome to see.
"He is so relaxed off the field. Craig knows how to push his buttons and getting him fired up. Sometimes calling him into the office is what it takes.
"It must work.
"Fus is a guy you can ride a little bit because he can be a bit relaxed but he is playing good footy."
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