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Kotoni Staggs learned plenty from former Bronco James Roberts when he was at the club and now he wants to follow in his "jetstream" and represent the NSW Blues this year.

The 21-year-old is well on track to fulfil his childhood dream. Staggs was Brisbane's hat-trick hero in the 22-18 win over Roberts' Rabbitohs on Friday night where he inflicted maximum damage with his explosive speed, brute strength and killer instinct close to the line.

Staggs, who has now scored 13 tries in his last 11 NRL games, played both centre and halfback on Friday night to reinforce his versatility and class to NSW coach Brad Fittler.

Roberts, who played all three games of the State of Origin series in 2018 for NSW, left the Broncos mid-season last year but not before having a big influence on Staggs. 

"As soon as I get the footy I am going one hundred per cent. That is a bit like Jimmy. He is going one hundred per cent as well," Staggs said of the man known as 'Jimmy the Jet'.

Staggs beats Burns for the opener

"He taught me a lot when I first came here. He mentored me and gave me a couple of tips.

"I learned a lot off him definitely in defence. He is a good defender. He used to tip me up every day at training and pull me aside when I did something wrong. If I did something right he'd pull me aside and tell me I'd done a good job and to keep going.

Staggs muscles his way to a double

"That was my dream as a little kid, to wear that blue jersey. When I'd watch [Origin] it was always something I wanted to play.

"I didn't even think about Australia or Tonga growing up. It was always the Blues. That is what I want to chase this year and hopefully if I can keep playing consistent footy, Freddy is watching."

Broncos coach Anthony Seibold watched Tonga's 16-12 win over Australia last year where Staggs played in the halves with great success. It is why he moved him there from centre in the second half against Souths in a backline reshuffle after Brodie Croft went off injured earlier.

"Kotoni could do whatever he wants in the game if he continues to make sacrifices away from the game," Seibold said when asked if Staggs could play Origin this year.

"He played for Tonga against Australia and was good playing out of position. That gave me the thought to put him at halfback in the second half and he scored a couple of individual tries where he broke tackles close to the line with his speed and power.

"I am really proud of the way he is growing as a player and a person away from footy.

"He can score a try. I imagine growing up in Wellington [in NSW] he would have been a handful."

Staggs continues his stellar performance when he grabs a hat-trick

Staggs, who lives with teammates Jake Turpin and Ethan Bullemor, has been with the Broncos since he was 14 and came through the elite player development system under program manager Simon Scanlan's guidance.

Seibold said he was also "a really good pro who prepares really well" which was evidenced with the way he got himself ready to three weeks early in the NRL Nines after working hard to get back from a toe injury he suffered while playing for Tonga last year.

"The performance staff at the club did everything to get me right. I kept rehabbing and training and doing the hard yards to get back for round one. I am blazing now," Staggs said.

At the same time he is doing his childhood hero Darren Lockyer proud, a player he always admired for the way he handled every situation with class.

"I followed the Broncos growing up so I looked up to Locky. He was my idol and I just wanted to be like him," Staggs said.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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