St George Illawarra's Wellington recruit Mose Masoe has now reached that age where he looks back on wasted opportunities.

Yet at 26 he is still young enough to have his best rugby league years ahead of him, providing he puts in the work to match his enormous frame and potential.

The 130kg man mountain can still remember the time a man named 'Arthur Beetson' flew to New Zealand's capital city to meet the then teenager.

At the time Masoe was just 16 and creating havoc in New Zealand's junior ranks when Beetson spotted him playing at a carnival in Australia.


He said he had never heard of the rugby league Immortal, yet there he was sitting in the presence of greatness as people from his home town looked on in awe.

"There were a lot of people in the restaurant and I could hear them whispering, 'That's Artie Beetson'," Masoe recalled a decade on.

"And he said, 'I want you to come and play for the Roosters'.

"I got home that night and I Googled him."

But despite being touted as one of New Zealand's most promising young forwards at the time, Masoe conceded he never reached the heights he probably should have in his first two NRL stints.

After coming to Australia at the end of 2007 on Beetson's recommendation, Masoe debuted for the Roosters in 2010 where he played a total of 46 NRL games.

He then spent 2013 with the Panthers before moving to England for two more years with St Helens, before the Dragons made an approach at last year's Four Nations.

Since his return for pre-season training, all he has done is impress his new coach Paul McGregor.

And McGregor said the one thing that previously let him down, is now proving to be his strength.

"He is at training first every day. He is doing extras every day," McGregor said.

"He is obviously a big man, so with that big structure he finds that continuous running quite physical.

"But he is certainly in better shape then a lot of other guys his size.

"And he is working really hard towards being much better at that then he has been at any time in his career previous."

This season their forwards shed the "soft" label and replaced it with new-found respect.

They have one of the hardest working packs in the NRL with the likes of Joel Thompson, Tyson Frizell, Jack De Belin and Mike Cooper.

And now they have added size with Masoe and Russell Packer joining the ranks.

While Masoe still looks back on missed opportunities of the past, he said that was today his motivation.

"I took a lot of things for granted but going to England made me see what I had here," he said.

"This is kind of like my second chance and I am just grateful the Dragons have given it to me.

"The way I look at it, I still have time to reach my potential. I am 26. A lot of seasons I have been underdone, I am 130kg and I need to get down to 125kg."

Which means the holiday season will be more about hard work then celebrations.

"That is the good thing about coming back. All we have been doing is running," he said.

"For me, I don't really need to do anything else but run."

Asked if he thinks he can still live up to the promise that led Beetson to sign him as a teenager, Masoe agreed: "Going overseas made me realise what I could have done over here.

"And there is unfinished business. It is driving me, I have got to make the most of this opportunity.

"I still think I can produce my best footy."