The kid Eels players fear most
Parramatta boast a raft of rampaging back-rowers who take great pleasure in skittling opposition defenders like bowling pins but ask those in the know and it's the kid so big they named him twice who strikes most fear into their hearts.
At 188 centimetres and 105 kilograms 19-year-old Pauli Pauli is starting to show the NRL what those who have watched him in the under-20s have known for a couple of years.
His physical presence was immediately evident when he was introduced off the bench against the Broncos and his powerful charges soon started denting a Brisbane defence laden with hardened veterans.
Eels coach Brad Arthur has a forward pack overflowing with tearaways with extraordinary leg speed but ask the players who gives them the most grief at training and it's Pauli whom they nominate.
"There are a few big boys out there. Pauli Pauli, he's probably our biggest one," Corey Norman said when asked to name the fiercest prospect at training. "He's still young and he's getting game-time now which is good and hopefully he gets better during the year. Probably be Pauli Paul; he's too big, especially at training."
Peni Terepo, Manu Ma'u, Ken Edwards and Junior Paulo all busted through the 100-metre barrier against the Broncos – and Kelepi Tanginoa was a one-man wrecking ball in the Holden Cup fixture – but experienced Eel Joseph Paulo plumbed for Pauli as the man he most likes to steer clear of, even if he does go easy on his teammates.
"I'd say Pauli, but he doesn't go as hard at training, he feels a bit bad," concurred Paulo. "I'm glad he doesn't feel bad on the field because he was really damaging tonight.
"For him, it's just about possessing that knowledge of how big he really is and he can go as far as he wants, really it's up to him. Can't take anything away from Manu and Kenny Edwards, they're really improving every week and you can just really tell that toughness they're bringing to the team."
Overlooked for representative honours despite dominating at under-20s level, Pauli was on the verge of an NRL debut under coach Ricky Stuart last year but failed to get on the field when named 18th man on a couple of occasions.
In a team that was destined for their second wooden spoon frustrated Eels fans wanted to see Pauli given his shot in the top grade but Paulo believes holding him back until 2014 will be beneficial to his future development.
"He was 18th man but I think this was just at the right time," Paulo said of his debut against the Panthers in Round 4.
"He was still young, he was still getting used to his body weight and how tough first grade is but having a good off-season and really building those combos with the halves, I can just see him really flourishing in the future."