Opacic enjoying final fever
Rookie centre Tom Opacic might be having a breakout year in the NRL, but he still has one eye on his beloved Redcliffe Dolphins as they put together a premiership charge in the Intrust Super Cup.
The 21-year-old Bronco started the year with Redcliffe before earning selection for Brisbane back in Round 16, and he is now a regular at left centre after a great start to his NRL career.
Opacic is seven games into what will be a long career with the Broncos, and the competition is now on notice after an outstanding performance from the young gun in Brisbane's last-start 26-16 win over the top of the table Melbourne Storm.
The strongly-built centre comprehensively outplayed direct opponent and Australian international Will Chambers, scoring two tries and making a number of superb defensive reads.
But Opacic isn't getting ahead of himself, instead telling NRL.com how thankful he is for the opportunities he was presented with at the Dolphins.
It's why Opacic was so ecstatic when talking about Redcliffe's 74-6 win over the Tweed Heads Seagulls in the last round of Queensland Cup action – a victory that secured the minor premiership for the club.
"They are going really well. They played Saturday night against Tweed at Dolphin Oval and got the win that secured the minor premiership," Opacic said.
"I played there all of last year and I played the first 12 games there this year. I'm really close with those boys.
"The Queensland Cup was the main stepping-stone to the NRL for me. I played in the under-20s NYC for two years and then I went to Redcliffe for a whole season last year.
"We didn't do the best in that season, but I think it was more of a building year and that shows with how successful we are going this year.
"We got a new coach and a few new players, and we've all gelled really well. Playing there has helped my performances immensely."
Next weekend, the Dolphins will have Week One of the finals off, followed by a meeting with the Burleigh Bears in Week Two for a spot in the September 25 grand final at Suncorp Stadium.
Opacic will be hoping both the Broncos and Redcliffe go far into their respective finals campaigns, with a premiership a distinct possibility for both.
But Brisbane's left edge will need to fire if they are to progress deep into the NRL finals, and Opacic said he is confident the Broncos' youngsters can do the job under the pressure that comes with sudden-death football.
"It's great playing next to [Corey] Oates who is 21, and also next to [Anthony] Milford who is 22. I never expected it but now that it's happening it's awesome," he said.
"We all get on really well. I think everyone in the side gels really well but especially us young guys on the left.
"I want to be an all-round player and they are all really helping me. I want to have great aspects of both attack and defence."
But before even thinking about finals Brisbane must first account for the Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.
A huge crowd is expected to farewell retiring captain Corey Parker and the Broncos must win if they are to have any chance of securing a top four finish.