Jazz Tevaga isn't your prototypical NRL lock.

Listed at 94kg and 178cm, the 23-year-old gives up about 10kg and 10cm to the average measurements of the other starting locks around the league this week.

But donning the No 13 jersey for the first time this season, Tevaga has plans to prove his doubters wrong.

"It's a good chance for me to show I'm not just a bench player. I'm excited for the opportunity," he tells the Herald.


"I can offer more to the team. That's what I've wanted for a while. I've said in the past that I still have a lot to work on, which I do, but the opportunity's there I'm more than happy to fill it in."

The opportunity comes after forwards Tohu Harris (foot) and Lachlan Burr (general soreness) were ruled out for the match, Burr has been the first choice lock for the Warriors this season and has been a strong performer week after week.

Tevaga, who was last year named the league's interchange player of the year, is one of the Warriors' top tacklers this season despite playing little over 40 minutes per game.

While he may not have the stature to match the other locks in the game, he does put in the effort. And with hookers Karl Lawton, Nathaniel Roache and Issac Luke all healthy, the Warriors can afford to use Tevaga in his preferred position as opposed to shifting him to dummy half at points during the game.

Jazz Tevaga will make his first start of the season against Penrith this weekend. Photo / Photosport
Jazz Tevaga will make his first start of the season against Penrith this weekend. Photo / Photosport

"It's a tight contest with Bully, Nate and Karl all being fit. It's very tight there … I'll leave it to them while all those guys are fit."

Tevaga knows he has plenty of work to do before being able to challenge for a spot as an 80-minute lock, but sees this Sunday's clash against the Penrith Panthers at Mt Smart Stadium as another chance to work towards the goal of ultimately becoming an 80-minute lock.

He'll be in the thick of an important battle between the Warriors and Panthers forwards, who will both be hoping to provide the platform for their teams to continue their winning ways. Two of the bottom three teams in running metres gained, the forwards on both sides will be hoping to find a bit more go forward for their backs to feed off as they look to press closer toward the top eight.

"There's a big challenge ahead. They've got a decent forward pack. I'll just be looking to use my feet and my skill around them. It's going to be game on," Tevaga says.


"[I'm happy] as long as I'm out there; I'll just try to stay out there. When [coach Stephen Kearney] thinks I'm ready to come off for a rest I will. But when I'm out there I'm just going to go hard."

NRL round 15 starting locks:
Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys) - 117kg / 191cm
Tevita Pangai Jr (Broncos) - 113kg / 190cm
Matthew Eisenhuth (Tigers) - 110kg / 197cm
Tim Glasby (Knights) - 109kg / 188cm
Joseph Tapine (Raiders) - 107kg / 188cm
Jai Whitbread (Titans) - 107kg / 186cm
Jake Trbojevic (Manly) - 107kg / 185cm
Dale Finucane (Storm) - 106kg / 188cm
Chris Smith (Bulldogs) - 104kg / 185cm
Nathan Brown (Eels) - 104kg / 185cm
Paul Gallen (Sharks) - 104kg / 180cm
Isaac Liu (Roosters) - 103kg / 187cm
Tyson Frizell (Dragons) - 103kg / 183cm
Liam Martin (Panthers) - 98kg / 183cm
Jazz Tevaga (Warriors) - 94kg / 178cm
Cameron Murray (Rabbitohs) - 90kg / 184cm