Jaydn Su’A has been likened in style to former Brisbane Broncos enforcer Ben Te’o and Sam Thaiday insists the 20-year-old back-rower is ready to take on that role to provide match-turning plays in defence.
The Broncos have fielded a suite of back-rowers renowned for shortening up opponents over the years with Trevor Gillmeister, Tonie Carroll and Te’o three of the best.
Su’A, Auckland-born like Te’o, was a Junior Kangaroos star and so highy regarded by the Broncos that they gave him his NRL debut in 2016 at the age of 18.
He will join Thaiday in coming off the bench for Sunday night’s Telstra Premiership clash with the Gold Coast Titans.
"He has definitely got the same aggression and the ability to turn a defensive set with a big tackle like Te'o," Thaiday told NRL.com.
"You rely on the halves to come up with the fancy plays in attack but in the forwards you look for someone to come up with a special tackle or a special effort and Su’A has definitely got that in him.
"Te’o really set the standards in defence and when he led that line speed in defence and came up with a couple of big shots you knew that defensive set would be dominant and you’d give yourself the best opportunity in the next attacking set.
"Jaydn is going to learn that role and do that job for us going forward and we will be looking more to these young guys to come up with those great plays."
Su’a was suspended for a shoulder charge after the round-one loss to the St George Illawarra Dragons and Thaiday said he would learn lessons from that ban while not losing his venom in defence.
"That [aggression] is why he got suspended, along with a bit of fatigue and frustration, so his tackle technique went out the door and he went back to old habits," Thaiday said.
"He is very tough when it comes to his defence but needs to be smarter in the way he does it. Jaydn went back to Queensland Cup [in round three] and proved he was ready to come back. He is a cover-all-bases kind of player for us because he can play centres, back row and is tough enough to play in the middle."
The Broncos have changed their bench each round and it has received another reshuffle with Tevita Pangai jnr and Corey Oates injured.
"It has almost been a masterstroke having Tom Opacic on the bench the last couple of weeks where he’s had two outside backs go down in Jordan Kahu and Corey Oates," Thaiday said.
"It is not overly great chopping and changing but it gives Korbin [Sims] a chance to start and really show he is ready for that position."
Thaiday suffered a head knock in the win over the Wests Tigers but said he would be ready to go against the Titans.
He is expecting a bounce back from the Gold Coast after their 54-8 thrashing at the hands of the St George Illawarra Dragons, and in particular from former Broncos forwards Jarrod Wallace and Jai Arrow.