Will Cusack has spent the last few years calling himself 'big sexy', but the Orange United Warriors prop might want to change his moniker to 'medium sexy' after unveiling his new rig in the Mid-West Cup's opening round.
The 21-year-old put in the hard yards over the off-season, shedding 16 kilograms in preparation for his second season in teal.
The Warriors kicked off their campaign with a gritty 14-12 victory over the CSU Mungoes, a result that pleased the former Orange CYMS player.
"It's good to grind out those hard-fought wins," Cusack said.
"We've just got to keep our heads during games and I reckon we can go all the way."
Cusack spent extra time in the gym and on the training paddock over the summer, but he wasn't willing to sacrifice a cold one... that's taking it too far.
"I definitely didn't give up the beers," he said.
"I just kept training throughout the off-season and I played for CYMS in the under 21s pre-season competition... that definitely helped.
"I felt lighter out there on the weekend and to have the extra match fitness was good."
In 2020, Cusack played in the forward pack alongside Ethan Bereyne, and even though the latter returned to the green and golds, Cusack was more interested in staying put.
"I want to help these guys win a grand final and keep playing with mates," he said.
By day, Cusack is an apprentice tattooist and if all goes to plan at the end of the season, he'll be putting some ink on all of his teammates.
"If we win the comp, it'll be Warriors logos all-around," he said.
Warriors' captain Kurt Beahan has been with Cusack at the Warriors since day one, and after addressing a few things with him in the off-season, is happy with where he's at.
"We had a chat about a number of things... his weight was one of them," Beahan said.
"He's come out looking really good and I thought he was one of our better players on the weekend."
Although Cusack stood tall in round one, the team's performance was far from unblemished, in fact, Beahan's not sure the side earned the two points.
"We probably deserved to lose to be honest," he said.
"We looked at the statistics last night at training and it was pretty embarrassing. There were 33 missed tackles from our boys.
"And for us, that just comes down to attitude and not always trying to pull off that big shot. We only completed about 50 percent of our sets. We know we need to be better."
The Warriors will have the bye this weekend, before returning to face Lithgow Bears in round three.
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