Taupau says he's psyched to pull off huge hits with his hero Steve Matai. By Joel Gould (RLW 18-2-16) Thanks for the hits and memories, Steve. Now let's make some of our own at the Sea Eagles together. That's how new Manly recruit Martin Taupau views his partnership with one of his all-time heroes, Steve Matai. Both men share Samoan heritage and play the game like warriors- ferocious and with no quarter given. And now that Taupau's playing alongside Matai, he's inspired to bring even more hurt to the opposition than he did at the Tigers. "Steve has been a huge influence and a massive contributor to our Samoan community," Taupau says. "There are similarities in the way we play. Steve isn't the biggest player on the field, but he puts on the hardest hits." "I'm not going to change the way I play either, and that's why I'm looking forward to playing alongside him. Steve's one of those players who'll never let you down on the field. There's so much respect for him." "He's been through injuries and a lot of things have been thrown at him, but he just rolls with the punches." Released from the final year of his Wests Tigers contract to join Manly on a four-year deal last October, the 26 year-old man mountain has copped some stick from Tiger's fans, but refuses to bite. "I'm not the only one that cops it but it just comes with the territory," Taupau says. "I understand it, but if you buy into it then it just brings you down." The Kiwi international forward joins a host of other new signings, including Nate Myles, Lewis Brown, Matt Parcell, Darcy Lussick and Dylan Walker, at a club that has splashed the cash in a bid to return to finals football. It's a Manly trait of demanding success rather than hoping for it that attracted Taupau. "That was Manly's motive for recruiting those players and the club has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to do that," he says. "I haven't been here long but I'm really loving how things are run at Manly ... Just being in that environment and playing alongside of the calibre of players that we have like Jamie Lyon, Brett Stewart and Steve Matai." "They've won Grand Finals, and I never thought I'd get the opportunity to play alongside players of that calibre."