Departing Melbourne talent Tino Faasuamaleaui says the thing keeping him grounded in the Sunshine Coast bubble is also the reason he'll leave the NRL club for the Gold Coast next season.
The boom prop signed a lucrative deal late last year to join the Titans on the back of just five NRL games and has flourished since then to emerge as a State of Origin option for Queensland next month.
Still just 20, Faasuamaleaui looms as a significant strike weapon off the bench against the Panthers and admits he's still pinching himself as he prepares for Sunday's grand final alongside Cameron Smith in what could be his final game.
But he said partner Jordy and their young daughter Alina have helped him negotiate his dramatic rise while living out of a suitcase.
"She's not quite two-years-old and is amazing; it's just been so good to have them here with me this whole journey and we've made some good memories," he told AAP.
"It would have been tough (to do it alone) and it's a big reason why (he signed with the Titans) to be closer to family next year."
Faasuamaleaui attended James Nash State High School in Gympie, a small town just north of their Sunshine Coast base, that has followed their brightest star closely this year.
"I get so many messages from everyone back home and know how much they are behind me; I just want to do them all proud," he said.
Swooped on by Melbourne after first being identified by the Brisbane Broncos, Faasuamaleaui plans to take the lessons learnt under Craig Bellamy to the Titans.
He'll link with Moeaki Fotuaika and fellow recruit David Fifita in one of the competition's most exciting front row combinations as coach Justin Holbrook looks to build on a five-game winning streak to end the season.
"When I headed to Melbourne I was keen to see what all the talk about this hard work was about," he said.
"It's simple; work hard, have fun. But the hard work down here really is pretty crazy.
"I've sort of (felt like I've made a mark on the NRL) but not completely, you still have to work hard to stay in the team and the same goes next year to cement a spot.
"But I'll worry about Gold Coast later, I want to focus on getting the job done at the Storm first."
Australian Associated Press