POWERFUL prop Wayne Goolagong is not the man he once was — and that means big trouble for rival teams.
The Southcity forward has stripped an amazing 24 kilograms off his imposing frame and is ready to cause even more football mayhem in the Group Nine premiership.
Beforehand, however, Goolagong intends to use his new slim-line physique as a fearsome football weapon for the Indigenous Allstars at Greenfield Park tomorrow.
Heading into the Border blockbuster against the Group 9 Invitational team, Goolagong says he is fitter than at time in the past four years for the showdown for the coveted Reconciliation Cup.
Goolagong yesterday also revealed he was inspired to shed the kilos after having “minor surgery” on a knee injury last year.
“Having all the extra weight on the knees was causing my injuries, and making it tougher to get around the field,” Goolagong said yesterday.
“It’ll be a lot different now.”
A man-mountain, Goolagong says the knee problem had managed to take some of the sting out of him last year.
“I didn’t have the best of seasons,” he conceded.
“The knee injury made it hard.”
Fiercely determined to regain his top football form this year, Goolagong underwent surgery before hitting the gym in a big way.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work,” he said.
“At the moment I’ve lost 24 kilos and I’m feeling good.
“I’ve pretty much stuck at it too, and I’m probably fitter then I’ve been for three or four years.”
Goolagong will be gunning for the Group 9 Invitational pack in Albury tomorrow.
“I was looking at the two teams not long ago, and I think they (Group 9) have the better forwards,” he said.
“They’ve got the bigger forwards, and (coach) Josh Cale will have them pretty much coming at us through the middle.
“It’ll be up to us to stop them up the middle, and then give our backs the chance.”
Despite giving the Group 9 Invitational pack a slight edge, Goolagong has no doubt the Indigenous All Stars backs are vastly superior.
“It’s close to the best backline in the bush,” he said.
The Indigenous Allstars backline is absolute quality.
Halves Nathan Rose and Willie Heta are key playmakers, while centres Peter Little and Sione Tongia are a partnership of brute strength and super speed and skill.