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Manly's Uate never happier in NRL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/05/2017 Warren Barnsley

Having returning to career-best NRL form this season, Manly's Akuila Uate has never been happier and puts his resurgence down to leaving Newcastle.

The Fijian-born winger is playing as well as his 2011-12 seasons with the Knights, when he earned five NSW State of Origin caps to prove one of the signings of the year.

He has scored seven tries from 10 games this season and been a constant attacking threat for the sixth-placed Sea Eagles, recording the equal-second highest number of line breaks (nine).

While his positive outlook has returned after some dark times at the Knights, so has his vigour for training, proving to his new club he can still make a mark on the competition.

"(I'm) probably the fittest I've ever been - just being happy again," Uate told reporters on Tuesday.

"(I was) just wanting to play first grade again, so I had to prove myself to Baz (coach Trent Barrett) and the coaching staff and team that I've still got it.

"I had to be fit, no matter what, to get my spot again."

Uate played 161 games in nine seasons with Newcastle.

He scored a career-high 21 tries in 2010 before his form gradually dropped off, spending most of last year in NSW Cup.

He was involved in a player swap deal with Manly in which Jamie Buhrer joined the Knights at the end of last season.

"I was happy for the move and (I'm) more settled now and I'm happy here now," Uate said.

"I'm more happy than ever."

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