Brisbane Broncos forward Jaydn Su'A grew up idolising Sonny Bill Williams but there is one aspect of the dual international's play he knows he must cut out of his game.
In round one of the Telstra Premiership, the 20-year-old Bronco was suspended for the now outlawed shoulder charge, a feature of SBW's defence when he was a Canterbury Bulldog.
Sam Thaiday told NRL.com recently Su'A reminded him of former Broncos forward Ben Te'o for his overt aggression and impact, while warning he needed to take the shoulder charge out of his game. Su'A has taken that advice to heart.
"One of my weaknesses is that when I get fatigued I go back to old habits," Su'A told NRL.com leading into Saturday's Telstra Premiership clash with the Knights in Newcastle.
"I come up with a lazy tackle or a shoulder charge, which was allowed back in Sonny Bill’s day but not anymore, so I’ve focused on working under fatigue and just thinking about it all.
"I think I have a good tackle technique but I can’t afford to be careless.
"Our assistant coach JD (Jason Demetriou) has helped me a lot on that because sometimes when I go into a tackle I can be overly aggressive. I missed a week and I don’t what that to happen again."
The New Zealand-born forward was a "crazy fan of" Williams and Benji Marshall growing up.
"In the past I watched all the highlights of Sonny and saw the impact he had," Su'A said.
"Sonny started at a young age and when you look at what he has achieved you tell yourself that anything is possible. It was a shock when Benji came to the club a couple of years ago and to play with him was a crazy experience.
"When I was young I thought I had that footwork and could pass like him, but I had none of that at all."
Off contract at season's end, Su'A has been with the Broncos since he was 14 and NRL.com understands the club will soon negotiate with his manager Isaac Moses to work on extending his deal.
To get a gauge of the esteem Su'A is held in, when Wayne Bennett selected him to make his NRL debut against the Wests Tigers in 2016 he was the youngest forward in Broncos history to start a game at 18 years and 221 days. He also played 80 minutes that night in the second row.
"It all happened pretty fast," Su'A said.
"Wayne thought I was ready, and so did I, and the fact that he picked me gave me a lot of confidence.
“Making the step up from 20s to first grade was a big jump and that has been the biggest hurdle, just going from doing so much in a team to having your own little role.
“You can’t say [being off contract] doesn’t play on your mind because it does. The more first grade I can play the more it is going to help me cement a bench spot. I know I can bring a lot more energy to my game when I come on."|