In the words of Denny Solomona, he is a ‘pretty chilled out dude’.
His self-description is typified by his acrobatic and energetic try-scoring abilities that have set the Super League alight since joining Castleford at the start of last season. The Tigers flier is currently top of the Super League scoring charts for the 2016 season, with 12 tries in just nine appearances this year, a pretty staggering record.
But behind the gravity-defying leaps and the superstardom that follows, the 22-year-old has worked hard on his game without the ball.
Solomona has revealed that a chat with Daryl Powell sparked a change in his mindset ahead of this season.
“I love to have fun,” Solomona confessed. “When there’s a scrum I can have a laugh with Jake (Webster) or Galey (Luke Gale). But I struggled with that too.
“Me and Daryl spoke about when it’s time to switch on and switch off. This year I’ve tried to keep my head and when I cross the white line I’m in work mode. I’ve got a job and I’m going to do it as best as I can. I still love to have a laugh, but as soon as it’s work time I’ll get my head down and work hard.”
Another notable improvement in Solomona’s game this year is his workload. He took 116 carries throughout the entire 2015 season. This year, he has already taken 100.
The aggressive streak he has added to his game has given the Tigers a new dimension in attack, and Solomona admits he has learnt to embrace the impact through centre field.
“I think that’s the side I have brought back into my game this year,” he said. “I kind of went away from it last year and shied away from the physical contact. But this year I’ve come back in good nick, put a bit of weight on and I love the contact now. There’s no reason why I can’t get in amongst the boys and help the boys as much as I can.”
The New Zealand-born star will get another chance to impress tonight when the Tigers travel to Wigan, with Solomona anticipating a backlash from the Warriors.
“They’re not going to play like they did against Wakey again,” he said.
“They’re going to be stronger and harder than they were last week. We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us and we can only focus on ourselves. We just need to continue our form at the moment because we’ve been going good.”