It can’t be easy captaining the NZ Warriors, especially this season, but Ryan Hoffman is getting stuck in. A veteran with 11 seasons under his belt for the Melbourne Storm, including two grand final wins, Hoffman is known as a strong personality and a hard worker, with a great attitude to the game. We caught up with him as he was getting suited up for a black tie event to ask how he keeps his cool.

I read that you used to take your shoes off at primary school and run on gravel until your feet bled to toughen up. If that's what you do to stay tough, what do you do to de-stress?

Geez, that story has been haunting me for years. I did it once when I was 10 because I saw too many 80s-movie training montages. I see ‘tough’ these days as working hard when you are tired, taking the carry when you know you are going to get smashed, or doing the act that may not get you any accolades, but helps the team.

My most favourite thing to do to de-stress is build Lego with my son. He is really into Lego, the Star Wars ones especially, and it has gotten me back into it.

What's the best advice your dad [Canberra Raiders legend Jay Hoffman] ever gave you about playing football?

He never pressured me into playing but always told me to “have a go”. He reckons there is no point being there or doing it if you aren’t going to have a go.

What are the best and worst things about being back in New Zealand?

The best thing about living in New Zealand is that it’s a great place to bring up kids. We have found a place near the beach in Auckland, which we wouldn’t have been able to do in Australia.

The worst thing? The absolute dire situation of the Wallabies.

What impact do you expect to have on the Warriors?

My approach is to lead by example. I train hard, play hard, I’m a good husband and father, and I contribute to the community when time allows. It’s about constantly striving to be a better person.

Do you have a favourite Olympic athlete?

My cousin went to the London Olympics as part of the Australian women’s water polo team so she was my favourite, but wasn’t Eliza McCartney incredible? I love that Kiwi can-do attitude. She’s a star and definitely one to watch in the future.

Whose personal style do you most admire?

David Beckham is one trendy human. I’ve also been watching The Rock in Ballers - he wears some pretty amazing suits in that show.

Your Instagram bio says "not a vegan or paleo". What's that about?

It’s just a cheeky little go at people who add stuff like that to their Instagram bios. If people feel the need to tell people what their dietary preference is, I thought I would join in.