Connal McInerney should be eating meat pies instead of scoring tries if he wants to bulk up for the next Super Rugby season, but the rookie hooker showed he's ready to step up after a solid Canberra Vikings effort on Saturday.
McInerney and ACT Brumbies teammate Lausii Taliauli scored doubles in the Vikings' big win against the Sydney Rams, overpowering their opponents to cruise to a 54-17 win at Concord Oval.
McInerney has moved back to Canberra after finishing his 12-month stint in Sydney club's competition and securing a Brumbies full-time deal for the first time.
He was thrown into Super Rugby this year when Josh Mann-Rea tore his hamstring off the bone and the former Australian under-20s rake has barely put a foot wrong since.
His two tries against the Rays came off the back of a Brumbies pet move, capitalising on a dominant maul to get across the line as the Vikings eased out to a big lead.
McInerney's work around the park was just as impressive and he's set up to duel with Mann-Rea and Folau Faingaa for Super Rugby game time next year.
But he also wants to add between five and 10 kilograms to his 104 kilogram frame to help him have more of an impact for the Brumbies.
"I've moved back to Canberra and it's been really good for me to just be able to focus on footy at the moment," McInerney said.
"We're training at the Brumbies a couple of times a week and I'm living not far from Viking Park, so I've got my mind on footy which is good.
"For a young hooker, [just working on] my set piece and keeping that solid. I think we'll use the next couple of months as a bit of pre-season to load me up and put some weight on the body.
"Just working on things like being powerful around the park and dominate a bit more. I'm enjoying it so we'll keep going into next year."
The Vikings made amends for a round-one loss when they blew the under-prepared Rays off the field in the first half. The Rays had just one week to prepare for the match and the Vikings showed no mercy.
McInerney got his double in the first half, Taliauli scored his first from a perfectly weighted Andrew Muirhead kick and the Vikings' scrum smashed the Rays to win a penalty try before the break.
It was 28-7 at half-time and the Vikings showed no signs of slowing down when they got back on the field, with scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan, Mack Hansen and Jordan Jackson-Hope all getting across the line.
Taliauli scored his second to put the result beyond any doubt, but the Vikings' defence was equally as impressive as their attack. They conceded one try in the first half and only conceded two more after Michael Oakman-Hunt was sent to the sin bin in the second half.
It was a massive turnaround from the seven tries the Vikings conceded in a grand final re-match against Queensland Country last week.
"We spoke about bouncing out of the result [last week], we didn't want to harp on that result, we just wanted to move forward," said Vikings captain Ben Hyne.
"We did a lot of work through the week on our defence. The first week we were focused on our shape but we really whipped in in the defensive area."
The Vikings will return to Canberra next weekend to play against the Western Force.
"It was important to turn it around straight away. The first 10 minutes we scored two or three tries and that laid the platform for us. If we slipped up in that one it would have been challenging to get the season back," McInerney said.
CANBERRA VIKINGS 47 (Connal McInerney 2, Lausii Taliauli 2, penalty try, Ryan Lonergan, Mack Hansen, Jordan Jackson-Hope tries; Wharenui Hawera 6 cons) bt SYDNEY RAYS 17 (Latu Latunipulu, Nick Duffy, Harry Burey tries; Will Harrison con) at Concord Oval, Sydney, on Saturday.