League: Slimmer Lima is primed

By Steve Landells

Jeff Lima. Photo / APN
Jeff Lima. Photo / APN

Kiwis prop Jeff Lima has cut out the junk food and shed 10kg to revitalise his career and win back his international place.

Lima joined Super League champions Wigan Warriors from the Melbourne Storm in the close season after a disappointing NRL campaign, when he also missed out on a place in Stephen Kearney's Kiwis squad for the Four Nations.

However, since he arrived in the UK in November to train with his new club, he has slimmed down to 103kg - as light as at any stage of his professional career - and is raring to make his Super League debut at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium against St Helens next Sunday.

"I was disappointed with my play last year," admitted Lima, the six-times capped Kiwi international. "I didn't play as well as I could have. As a team (at Melbourne Storm) we maybe got a bit complacent and had the salary cap thing hanging over us.

"Since I arrived (in the UK) I've worked hard with the Wigan nutritionist, who has put me on a high-protein and high-carb diet, which is pretty strict.

There's no time for KFC, McDonalds or pizzas anymore and, to be honest, I'm feeling pretty good for it."

Despite his comparatively small frame, Lima can be a wrecking ball of a player and is insistent he is more powerful than ever.

His form in the weights room backs that up: "I've been squatting 250 pounds in reps of three over here. Back at Melbourne I was only doing about 180 or 190 pounds."

Lima also does not believe a move away from the NRL will harm his international chances. A number of Super League players, including Wigan team-mate Thomas Leluluai, have been selected for the Kiwis and he is hopeful his performances will not be ignored.

"Of course, I'd like to represent my country again," he added. "It's a big thing and it would be good to get the chance. I should ring Stephen Kearney and remind him I'm up here," he added with a laugh.

In the short term, though, he is trying to come to terms with playing in a fresh environment. He admitted his knowledge of the Super League was limited but said a few familiar faces at Wigan had aided the transition.

"We hardly got any of the Super League on TV in Australia but as Brett Finch and Ryan Hoffman (his old Melbourne team-mates) have also arrived at Wigan and I also know George (Carmont) and Thomas, (Leuluai) that's made it easier."

However, there is one element to life Lima has struggled with - the snow.

"In training, I thought, 'Jesus it's cold', but the players just get on with their business."

- Herald on Sunday

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