Paul Vaughan takes a hit-up for Canberra against Newcastle. Copyright: NRL Photos.

Vaughan Canberra's humble destroyer

Paul Vaughan is a humble man.

After being complimented on his performances over the opening two rounds, Vaughan deflects any such praise. His incredible workload off the bench so far in 2014 isn’t enough to please the man himself despite others thinking otherwise.

“I wanted to improve on the game that I had last week – I wasn’t really happy with my performance. I just wanted to have a better game this week and just improve on the things that I thought I needed to work on,” Vaughan said.

“We’ve got a review to do when we get back to Canberra so I’m sure there are a couple of things that I can improve on.”

Injured Raiders front-rowers - former State of Origin representatives David Shillington and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs - are fighting to be fit enough for their inevitable returns, so Vaughan realises that he has to continue playing well to stay in Ricky Stuart’s side.

“The club has got really good competition here with front-rowers, with the two big name front-rowers coming back from injury you’ve got to play well to be kept in the side,” Vaughan said.

“[Ricky Stuart] has been unreal – he’s giving me a lot of confidence and there’s just a lot of belief there from him and that’s a good feeling and I just want to repay the faith that’s he put into me so that’s what I’m trying to do each week.”

Even if he doesn’t believe so himself, Vaughan has been an absolute wrecking ball for Canberra from the bench so far this season. His performance for Italy at the recent Rugby League World Cup is a testament to the man’s growing ability.  

“[The World Cup] was great. It was a great year last year – it was a good way to top off the year and I really enjoyed myself over there, so now I’m just trying to build on it this year,” he said.

“It was a good experience playing with such quality players. Anthony Minichiello is a legend and it was good just to better my game over there as well.”

While Vaughan is quick to pass off any compliments, doing so with a quick thanks, Raiders captain Terry Campese is happy to sing the praises of the 22-year-old – even if it involves paying-out Vaughan with a passing jibe about his World Cup performances and his bromance with another young Raiders prop in Shannon Boyd.

“We haven’t stopped hearing about [the World Cup] through the pre-season. He got the most metres in the first couple of rounds at the World Cup, he keeps telling us, but he’s brought that form back here and the first two weeks he’s been outstanding for us off the bench,” Campese said.

“Him and Shannon Boyd have a got a pretty close relationship, so it’s ‘cute’ seeing them get out there and play some footy together – they’re doing a good job for us.”

The day that Vaughan awards himself with his own stamp of approval is the day that many of his future opposition should fear.