Andre Savelio has revealed the key role club legend Corey Parker is playing in driving his ambition to become a regular member of the Brisbane Broncos' top 17 this season.
The 22-year-old former Super League forward, who will make his Brisbane debut in the second row on Saturday night in Theodore against the CQ Capras, told NRL.com that Parker was a player he had idolised as a Broncos supporter growing up.
The former Brisbane captain is on the club’s coaching staff and has been a massive help to Savelio, who played with St Helens, Castleford and Warrington before joining the Broncos.
"Corey has been in and around training at least once a week, sometimes twice, and when he talks everyone listens," Savelio told NRL.com.
"I certainly make sure I take in everything he has to say and I enjoy it whenever he takes a session.
"He takes most of the wrestling sessions, because obviously defence was a big part of his game. I’ve learned a lot from him already."
Savelio is mobile and athletic but also wants to play big minutes in the back row. That is another reason why he has been a keen student of Parker’s game.
"I always admired his toughness and the way he led by example," Savelio said.
"I'd watch his games and his work rate stood out to me. He was everywhere. He never seemed to tire which is quite a big ask for a guy who was an 80-minute loose forward from the moment he broke onto the scene right until the back end of his career.
"You can even tell by the way he talks that he was one of those players who never let you down and always turned up for the boys."
Parker told NRL.com he had also been keeping tabs on Savelio before he arrived at the club.
"I saw a fair bit of him on video analyser from his time in Super League before he came to the club and I was quite impressed with his style of play," Parker said.
"He has got a nice left to right pass, and vice-versa. He has a good offload and can step off his left or right foot.
"In terms of his attributes he had it all and wasn’t your standard run-of-the-mill back-rower.
"That has still got to be proven in the NRL yet and the proof will be in the pudding in the next month of footy, and he will get his opportunity in the trial this weekend."
Parker said Savelio had done everything in his preparation to give himself the best chance of playing in the Telstra Premiership.
"As part of the coaching staff looking after the wrestle and the ruck I’ve had a fair bit to do with Andre, and from day one that I have seen him at training I can’t fault his dedication and commitment," Parker said.
"That is all you can ask and gauge off at the moment.
"He’s still young and a big guy with a big engine, which is not always the case.
"It was a massive move for him to come over from England at a young age. He has a brother who is somewhat younger than him who I know looks up to him and idolises him. I know they are very close so to leave his family and come over here to play in the NRL was courageous."
Savelio can’t wait to get on the field and let his football do the talking.
"Super League kicked off last week and I watched two games that were televised and it made me a bit jealous," he said.
"It’s been a long time since I’ve played and I am just looking forward to getting out there and showing what I am about.”
"The challenge is to get into the top 17. I think getting the opportunity to play will still not be easy, but the hardest thing will be holding onto the jersey. I just need to get there first."