Broncos debutant 'too good' for reserve grade
When your peers think you are too good for reserve grade before you have even played an NRL match it is always a good sign that you are held in very high regard at your club.
This is the reality for the Brisbane Broncos' latest debutant Jamayne Isaako who will start on the wing against the Newcastle Knights on Saturday night.
The 21-year-old has earned his opportunity through impressive form in the Intrust Super Cup playing for the Souths Logan Magpies and he is a handy player for coach Wayne Bennett to be able to call on as Brisbane suffer a backline shortage.
The Broncos are missing David Mead (knee), Darius Boyd (thumb), Corey Oates (illness) and Anthony Milford (shoulder) all to injury, but it presents a well-earned chance for Isaako to make his mark in first grade.
The 2014 NYC Players' Player of the Year at the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Isaako is a versatile back that can fill any jersey from No.1 to No.5.
Brisbane prop Joe Ofahengaue has spent parts of this season in the Intrust Super Cup playing with Isaako and he believes the young speedster's opportunity is a just reward for his 2017 form.
"I reckon he was ready [for NRL] eight rounds ago," Ofahengaue said.
"He's an awesome player and I know what he can do on the field because I've played Queensland Cup with him. I'm wishing him all the best.
"Jamayne is just him. He's got a good running ability and a good pass.
"I think on Saturday night he will just get the ball and run. That'll be his job to do and he will do it.
"I reckon he is [too good for Intrust Super Cup]. He's a really good fullback and I know he will do his job debuting on the wing."
For hooker Andrew McCullough the thing that has stood out the most about Isaako is his attitude during training.
McCullough, a veteran of 211 NRL games, has seen his fair share of young backs come through the club over the years, but he says Isaako is one of the best.
"At training he's always enthusiastic," McCullough said.
"He puts himself out in front at training to let himself be known to Wayne and that he can do his bit. That's what you want from the young guys.
"He's been doing a great job in Queensland Cup. Wayne and Pete Nolan (chief recruiter) go out to watch the football out there regularly so they know the guys who are ready to play first grade."