SYDNEY - Playing for Manly last year in a trial match, Brent Kite took one look at Sydney Roosters prop Sam Moa and sized him up as an easy target.
Kite didn't recognise the stocky front-rower and figured he was a rookie ripe for the picking.
But one hit-up in, and Kite's ribs discovered he was hugely mistaken.
Moa hadn't been in nappies, but in the north of England building a reputation as a noted hard man after leaving Cronulla after just one game in 2008.
Kite now props up the Penrith scrum, and the veteran fully appreciates the up-front battle he faces against Moa — as the Panthers look to prove their credentials against the defending premier Roosters on Saturday at Allianz Stadium.
Eighteen months on from their first encounter, Kite says he rates 27-year-old Moa as a new benchmark for NRL props.
But in a Tongan representative camp last year, Kite felt he had to make a sheepish confession to his countryman.
"I got caught out with Sam because when he came back to Australia he had a trial game last year and for some reason I thought he was a young kid," Kite recalls.
"I kept running at him thinking he might be an easy target. But I soon found out he's one of the real tough hitters and one of the great ball runners in the game today. I told him that at a Tongan camp and he had a chuckle."
Moa has since transferred his allegiance to New Zealand and was outstanding in their loss to Australia in the May Test.