When Ben Te’o had coffee with Jaydn Su’A and David Fifita in Brisbane at the start of last year he had some sage advice for them.
"One thing I stressed to them is that they are young now, but they also need a big win now," Te’o told NRL.com.
"Sometimes rugby league can be cruel with the timing of things, so they need to get to the finals and have a crack at trying to win a premiership now and not to think that it is going to come around when you are more experienced.
"One of my regrets is that at a younger age there were some teams I was in that were capable, but we didn’t get there."
Te’o, who was in Brisbane with Japanese Super Rugby side Sunwolves when he spoke to NRL.com recently, provided plenty of starch as a back-rower for the Rabbitohs and Broncos in his 152-game career after starting out at Wests Tigers.
When he sat down with 22-year-old Su’A and 20-year-old Fifita over coffee both of them were Broncos teammates.
When you are young and you can come through with another guy who is young and passionate you can grow togetherBen Te'o
Su’A left for Brisbane to join Souths not long after that chat, and on Friday night the edge back-rowers will mark each other at Suncorp Stadium.
Te’o won a premiership in his final game of rugby league for South Sydney in 2014 at the age of 27.
The point he was making to Su'A and Fifita was they need to ensure they are having the kind of impact now that can lead to title glory.
"I did get that premiership win in the nick of time. It was awesome that in my last game of rugby league I got what I was always searching for when I thought it would never happen," Te'o said.
Looking back at the 2014 grand final
Te'o is close to Broncos trainer Andrew Croll and works with him on occasions when he returns to Australia. It was Croll that suggested the coffee catch-up with the young forwards.
"Andrew Croll is someone I really respect in the industry and last year I was doing some training with him when he said 'man, I’ve got these two guys Su’A and Fifita who I’d like you to have a chat with over coffee’," Te'o said.
"He said they remembered me when I used to play in the NRL and that he thought all three of us were really similar.
"I said that I’d love to have a chat with them so we had a coffee and spoke about what they both want to achieve.
"I was impressed with both of them and they kind of reminded me a little bit of myself ... and later I was in contact with Sam Burgess who said to me, ‘we’ve got this guy Su’A who has come down here and he reminds me of you Te’o'.
"We both play with aggression and he is a kid with a bit of a rugby union background as well. Now he wants to do some great things in rugby league and play State of Origin.
Broncos v Rabbitohs - Round 2
“With Su'A it is all about getting his body right and keeping his starting spot at Souths.
"Wayne Bennett has coached all the greats and he will know how to tap into Su’A and get the best out of him."
Te’o went to Keebra Park High School on the Gold Coast, the same rugby league powerhouse that Fifita and Payne Haas attended.
"When you are young and you can come through with another guy who is young and passionate you can grow together,” Te’o said.
"It is great to see those two Keebra boys doing so well and I expect they will be leaders of that Broncos pack for a long time.
"We all know about how good David Fifita is. He is a kid who is just going to get better and better."
Fifita played three games for the Maroons last year and Su'A, who was called into camp in 2018, is a player Queensland selectors have their eye on.
"Every Origin dynasty has had a really solid forward pack and I’d love to see those two run out together in Origin soon," Teo, who played six games for Queensland said.
"We have already seen Fifita break into the Queensland side and I am loving watching him.”
Super Rugby has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic since Te'o spoke to NRL.com, and the 33-year-old did not rule out a final fling in league.
"I have been steady in rugby for a long time. The closest I came to coming back to league was when my union coach got the sack in my first year," he said.
"That's when I was going to go to the Cowboys in 2015, the year they went on to win it.
"The NRL is a tough comp and if I ever came back I’d want to make sure I am fit and ready so I can keep up with these young guys.
"I think the Broncos have an exciting future and I am a big fan after watching the young guys develop.
"I am also glad that Latrell Mitchell has signed with Souths. They obviously miss guys like Greg Inglis and Sam Burgess. They are once in a generation players but there are always talented young guys coming along to fill the void."