Eliesa Katoa has had to learn to silence his hunger.

Nursing an ankle injury over the past three weeks, the young Warriors second rower has had to take a step back and learn when to focus on himself.

Katoa was injured in the side's 40-12 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs in round six, finishing the game before learning he would be spending some time on the sidelines.

"There was obviously disappointment with what happened to my ankle but I guess that's part of footy – sometimes you're going to get hurt," Katoa says.


"You just have to deal with it and I'm glad I've got the boys with me. They've always say to me: 'you're still young, you just have to look after yourself. Once your body is 100 per cent you'll be back on the field again'."

The support system of the playing group is something Katoa has relied on during his rehabilitation, with the 20-year-old hungry for game time in his rookie season.

Already this year he has seen his star rise in the NRL after some standout performances, this his hard and fearless running style providing a much-needed lift to the Warriors pack at times. Though six games, he averages more than 120 running metres and 27 tackles per game

With Katoa shaping up as a constant presence in the Warriors team, the club organised to have a TV set installed by former prop and Digicel CEO Anthony Seuseu in Katoa's family home in Koulo, a small village on the Ha'apai Islands in Tonga, so they could watch him play.

When he talks of growing up in Tonga, Katoa recalls visiting the nearest family with a TV so he could watch sport. Now, the same thing his happening to his own family.

"Every weekend everyone just goes there," Katoa laughs.

"I can't thank Anthony Seuseu enough for getting them the TV. I didn't see that coming. I was so happy when I heard that. I called my mum and asked 'do you ever turn off the TV or do you just have it on all the time?'"

While Katoa hasn't featured over the past three weeks, he was hopeful his stint out of the game would come to an end this weekend in the Warriors' match against the Cronulla Sharks on Sunday. He says he's feeling ready to go but the decision is ultimately up to the team' coaching and medical staff.


"The only reason we're here is to play so I can't see myself staying on the sidelines and watching them play every weekend," Katoa says. "But having boys like that telling me 'don't rush it, just be patient and look after your body' I'm so grateful to have them.

"I'm hoping to be back again on the field this weekend, but that's all up to the coach. The ankle feels all good now, so hopefully I'll be back out there."

Katoa's availability could be all the more important in the coming weeks, with the possibility of some of his teammates returning home following the game against the Sharks.

The club came to a well-publicised deal with wingers David Fusitu'a and Ken Maumalo, and forwards Agnatius Paasi and King Vuniyayawa that they could return home if their families couldn't join them in Australia by the game against the Sharks. With no indication that anything has changed with the situation, that possibility is seeming more and more likely.

Speaking about the situation, Warriors forward Isaiah Papali'i says there's not a whole lot they can do about it.

"We're supporting whatever decisions are made," he says. "We just have to try deal with it week to week. We've still got a game on Sunday against the Sharks, so that's our focus at the moment.


"We've got to keep moving forward no matter what happens.

"This whole year's been a bit funny with things being a bit up and down everywhere. Obviously, it's another obstacle in the road. I guess we'll sit down if it does happen, put it all out there and try move on as quick as we can."