'Finally got you now': The day Suli knocked back Des

"Remember me?"

"Yeah."

"I've finally got you now."

And with that, Moses Suli's breakout year was born.

Two years after he knocked back Des Hasler's million-dollar bid to make him a Bulldog while still wearing his school uniform.

Suli's try, two line-breaks, seven tackle busts and 177 running metres against Cronulla last Saturday made for arguably his best NRL game to date, in a season where he has genuinely begun delivering on his near-limitless potential for Manly.

Since finally joining forces when Hasler returned to Narrabeen last November, Suli has never been happier with his footy.

So Hasler makes a point of heckling the 21-year-old about his call to stay with Wests Tigers at the 2017, after meeting with the-then Canterbury coach and touring Melbourne's facilities with Craig Bellamy as well.

"If I could, I would take that back now. I would've moved to the Dogs back then before I signed that Tigers deal," Suli tells NRL.com.

"Des still brings it up too. He tells me I should've just gone with him from the start.

"After witnessing what he's done for me now, it's really helped me.

"He's made it simple for me. He's nailed things down and I just put my head down and get it done.

"But I'm happy now and I'm really enjoying my footy."

Suli was still only 18 when he met Hasler, who came to the table with an offer that all but matched the much-mentioned $1.3 million, three-year Tigers deal he eventually signed to stay at Concord.

Meanwhile Suli came into the meeting with one of rugby league's most intriguing minds straight from Westfields Sports High.

"He was coaching at the Dogs and I had just finished school for the day," Suli recalls.

"My manager came and picked me up and says 'I'm having a meeting with Des Hasler'.

"I was surprised. My manager then makes me tuck in my shirt, fix my tie up, get my uniform right.

"I'm the worst at that stuff, I didn't know what to say to him when we're there and like I said if I could take it back, I would."

While flattered by Melbourne's interest, a shift south was just too far from home for a shy Polynesian kid who still lives at home with mum.

Suli ended up staying with the Tigers in large part through loyalty after they picked him up when spurned by Parramatta at 15.

Canterbury's offer two years later was on par with that of the Tigers, touted as the richest deal ever offered for a teenager with no first-grade experience at the time.

The wheels fell off in spectacularly sad circumstances last year, and Suli did end up at Belmore for all of one month before being let go as well, his heart nowhere near in it enough for either the Tigers and Canterbury to keep cutting him slack.

Best mate and rising hooker Manase Fainu vouched for Suli to get a third and last crack at the NRL, before recruitment man Scott Fulton and ex-coach Trent Barrett made it happen.

When Hasler came in for Barrett and officially took charge in November, he and Suli crossed paths once more.

Hasler immediately got stuck into the youngster about his weight, Suli banned from ball-work sessions for a month until he too got stuck in, dropping 12 kilos in total over the summer.

Suli's NRL stocks have done nothing but rise as a result.

"Remember me?"

"Yeah."

"I've finally got you now."

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