CHRIS Tuson has bulked-up as he targets an end to his trophy jinx.
The tough-tackling forward has become a valued member of the Warriors squad over the past two successful campaigns.
A compact back-rower with a great engine, he debuted back in 2008 under Brian Noble but had to wait two years before his next chance.
After gaining experience on loan at Castleford, Michael Maguire recalled him and Tuson featured in 15 matches on the way to Grand Final glory in 2010.
But he was dropped for the final itself and, though he continued to develop last season during 20 appearances, his final misery was compounded when a knee injury forced him out of the Challenge Cup showcase at Wembley.
Tuson said: “It was very frustrating, and it’s something I think about all the time.
“It’s been great to be in the side for the last two years, but missing the Grand Final and the Challenge Cup was gutting.
“I celebrated with the lads, and I was happy for them, but it didn’t feel like I was part of it. Only the injury kept me out of Wembley, so hopefully I’ll get a bit more luck this year.
“That’s definitely my goal this year – to get to a final and play in it.”
Tuson has made 30 of his 35 appearances in the last two years off the substitutes’ bench, and is expected to again provide cover for Gareth Hock and Harrison Hansen.
The Leyland-raised player – who turns 24 this month – also hopes his heavy weights programme during the off-season will pay off.
“Form-wise I felt I went okay last year, and gaining a bit of weight will hopefully improve me,” he said. “I’ve managed to put 5kg on.
“In the past, I struggled to get above 92kg but I’ve done it this year, and hopefully I’ll keep the weight on.”
As well as being bigger, Tuson says his skills have been sharpened during the off-season – the same as every other player in the squad.
“When Waney took over, I thought it’d be the same as under Michael Maguire,” he added. “But it’s been different. We’ve done more specific stuff – the forwards and backs split – and we’ve done heaps more skill.
“Everyone’s learning to play with the ball, and everyone’s had to learn to be more skilful.”