Kahu braces for familiar foes
Brisbane Broncos winger Jordan Kahu is bracing for the return of two former teammates as he prepares for this Saturday's clash with the Newcastle Knights at Suncorp Stadium.
Kahu played in the NYC (National Youth Competition) in 2010 with both Korbin and Tariq Sims, with the two brothers now leading the Knights forward pack in the NRL.
Tariq collected both the Dally M NYC Player of the Year and the Broncos NYC Player of the Year in 2010, with the former winger scoring 13 tries in 21 games.
The Sims brothers were standouts in a side that missed the finals and Kahu knows how hard it is to control the two enforcers.
"They are really good players. Tariq used to be a winger so he's pretty athletic and fast," Kahu said.
"Korbin is a really strong runner of the ball and they are both skilful players in their own way. We are going to have to make sure we shut them down come Saturday.
"We have to match their aggression. They run really hard and are very strong physically.
"We'll have to lock up the ball when they run with it and hope we can limit their influence."
The future of the NYC is in doubt, with critics calling for the competition to be scrapped.
Those opposed to the competition believe the concept doesn't prepare young footballers for the rigours of the NRL, with many players going on to struggle both professionally and personally when they fail to make the step-up to first grade.
Kahu disagrees, and the 25-year-old says the competition is the reason he is playing in the NRL.
"I can't bag the under-20s competition because it's worked for me personally. I've come through that competition. I played one year and I was injured in my second year," he said.
"There are a few players in our first grade team who have come through that competition so I think it has worked really well. It's been great for this club, but I can see why they want to change it.
"If they do have a lower grade with a few older boys then it will be a bit easier to transition from that grade into the NRL.
"In saying that, I've seen players that have gone through 20s and gone straight into NRL so it's a tough one."
Kahu played 20 games in the NYC in 2010, playing with the likes of current NRL stars Dane Gagai, Lachlan Maranta, Dale Copley and Josh McGuire.
Kahu suffered a severe knee injury in 2011 and only managed to play two games, but he fought back and is now one of Brisbane's most consistent starters.
"I went from 20s and then straight into the first grade side. I then missed two years through injury so I've had a strange path to where I am now," he said.
"The Holden Cup did help me when I came out of school. We got to play at all the stadiums and all that kind of stuff so it got me ready for first grade."