IT IS not hard to see what is important to Sika Manu in life.
On the field, he is one of the most damaging ball runners in the game, using his body as a wrecking ball to smash his way though defensive lines and often carrying opponents for several metres before finally being brought to ground.
But the same body is also a billboard for the things he holds dearest - his family and his faith.
The bullocking forward's arms, legs and torso are covered with tattoos. There is the name of his mother on his wrist, another stresses the importance of putting family first, and on his upper left arm he has a depiction of the family's favourite passage from the Bible, Philippians chapter four, verse six.
"It's a verse that my family uses all the time," said Manu, who was born in Wellington, New Zealand, the third among eight children.
"It just means for all your problems, you pray to God and ask him to help you through the tough times and he'll get you through it.
"I grew up going to church each Sunday and it's a massive part of my life. I feel really blessed to be in this position … I'm really close to my family, They're always going to be there for me and a big part of my life."
Manu's future was not always set down the correct path, the 24-year-old having previously revealed he could have followed many of his friends into gang life. But he used sport and religion to find a better way and he said he would one day like to help others who were at risk of travelling the wrong path.
"I see a few of them [friends who had been involved in gangs] when I go back to New Zealand [and] I still talk to them on the phone and stuff," Manu said. "I still try and keep in touch. A lot of them have moved on from that [and] have families now.
"It's good to see them move on from that sort of life. If I get an opportunity I would like to help kids. I went down the same path so I would just like to give them my experience and show them there is other ways to life."
Manu, who can play as a front-and second-rower, has developed into one of the Storm's most consistent and damaging forwards since his debut in 2007 against the Sydney Roosters. In the qualifying final against Newcastle last Sunday, he showed he could go a long way to also taking up much of the slack left by the absence of Adam Blair, suspended for the rest of the year.
"I feel a lot more comfortable now in the team," Manu said. "I've obviously been here a few years, that's probably the main thing from when I first started."
However, the New Zealand Test representative's crash-through style of play has led to a number of injuries, with the most serious being a broken leg in 2009.
They have become part of his life - an ankle injury earlier this season has required maintenance all year - but he is prepared to continue putting his body through the pain.
"You get the odd bumps and bruises here and there but my body is handling it all right. Hopefully it will handle it for a few more years," he said.
The Storm will play the Warriors at AAMI Park on Saturday.
"It feels awesome especially after all the stuff that happened last year to be in this position," Manu said.
"It has been a massive achievement for us. There's a good vibe around the club and all the boys are excited about it."