For Sam Kasiano, the days of gorging on five kebabs, or four Quarter Pounders, in one sitting, are long gone.

The Bulldogs prop has undergone a dramatic physical transformation, shedding more than 10 kilograms in the past few months, and hopes his new frame can propel him towards a Kiwis comeback.

Kasiano hasn't played for New Zealand since the end of the 2013 season, but admits a World Cup on home soil is a driving force this year.

"That's why I play, to get back in the team," said Kasiano. "I loved playing for the Kiwis. It was always a great experience and the highest honour you could have. It would be amazing to be involved in the World Cup."


Over the past two years Kasiano has turned out for Samoa in the annual Pacific representative weekend, as well as an historic test in Apia last year. The changes to the eligibility rules at the end of last year mean players can nominate for two nations (a tier one and a tier two nation).

"I'm keeping my options open," said Kasiano. "It's been great to play for Samoa and we have had some good results. But I was born in New Zealand so it is probably my No1 choice."

A few years ago Kasiano was one of the most sought-after forwards in the game.

In 2012, he was a big factor in the Bulldogs run to the grand final, but he hasn't hit those heights since.

In 2012 he averaged 42 minutes a game, with more than 10 runs and almost 100 metres a match, as well as 18 tackles. In the seasons since he hasn't managed more than 33 minutes a match, with all of the other statistics on a downward trend.

There have been other mitigating factors - with a series of injuries and a Bulldogs team that has stalled over the last two seasons - but Kasiano has also struggled to make an impact, and wants that to change this in 2017.

That, along with a summer wedding to his long time partner pushed him to the weight loss which could define his campaign.

"I wanted to be a bit more agile and move a bit better," said Kasiano. "I felt I had become too easy to tackle and I talked to [coach] Des [Hasler] about dropping some weight."

Aside from a punishing pre-season, he mainly achieved his goal by changing his diet. Kasiano admitted he had a weakness for fast food, which wasn't really compatible with life as a professional athlete.

"Sometimes I would go to Maccas and order four Quarter Pounders and two large chips and smash it all," said Kasiano. The 26-year-old also admits to devouring "four or five" kebabs at one sitting.

But those days are gone. There is still the occasional cheat meal, but otherwise it is mainly lean meats and salads.

The results are there to see. Kasiano, who says he tipped the scales at around 137kg at his peak weight, is now around 125kg.

"I feel much better for it," said Kasiano. "Last year I went okay but in 2015 I was definitely too heavy. I feel better in training and [in] the games."

The softly spoken Kasiano is one of the quietest players in the NRL but shows signs of coming out of his shell. Over the last two years he has been a brand ambassador for Johnny Bigg, an Australian plus-sized menswear chain now available in New Zealand, along with other NRL identities George Rose and Frank Pritchard.