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Rabbitohs prop Jaydn Su'a.

Wayne Bennett has given Rabbitohs back-rower Jaydn Su'A the ultimate accolade by likening his powerhouse defence to former Broncos hitman Tonie "Tunza" Carroll.

The 22-year-old is enjoying a breakout season in the NRL where his defence has shortened up plenty of opponents with immaculate timing.

Bennett has coached some of the best defensive hitters in the game like Broncos trio Peter Ryan, Trevor Gillmeister and Carroll.

"Su'A is a hitter, a pure hitter in the Tonie Carroll mould," Bennett told

"Everyone loved playing with him but no-one liked playing against him.

"Su'A is going to whack you, the same as Carroll. There is no animosity. That is not what they are thinking. They just hit.

"There is a history of them in the game and most of us will never do what they can do because it is all rhythm and perfect timing, and that is what Su'A has. It is God-given stuff.

"Gillmeister was very good too because he had a wonderful technique and could hit low and high."

Rabbitohs v Knights - Elimination final

Su'A also has ball skills and runs with ferocity, just like Carroll.

Bennett gave Su'A his NRL debut in 2016 against the Wests Tigers as an 18-year-old when he became the youngest Broncos forward to start and play a full 80 minutes.

"He has matured. It is all there for everyone to see," Bennett said.

"This is his first full season in the NRL after he had a couple of series injuries, particularly with his ankle, and now he is showing us what we all knew he had at 17 or 18 when he was the hottest property in the game."

Bennett said it was "great to have Su'A back" from suspension for the elimination final with the Knights at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

"He brings a fair bit to the team. The opposition have always got one eye on the ball and one eye on him, and that's what you want," he said.

Another quality of Su'A's that Bennett likes is that he doesn't carry on after he has walloped someone.

"He doesn't have to. You know you are going to get whacked when you get near him," Bennett said.

"He knows it. You know it. He doesn't have to grandstand because they have already got the message."

Bennett can recall some of Peter Ryan's tackles from the 1990s like they were yesterday.

Tonie Carroll scores the winning try in Origin I of 1998.
Tonie Carroll scores the winning try in Origin I of 1998. ©NRL Photos

Ryan, also Bennett's defensive coach in the 2006 premiership win, said he was not surprised Su'A was so highly regarded by his coach.

"That is a massive rap because Wayne and I used to say that few players could hit people like Tunza hit them," Ryan told

"He was built like a barrel, fast and when he hit someone he drove a hole through them. Su'A is the same and hits like a freight train.

Rabbitohs forward Jaydn Su'A.
Rabbitohs forward Jaydn Su'A. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

"He is Wayne's silent assassin and I know from experience that Wayne builds teams around those kind of players, so long as they work hard in the rest of their game.

"What he does for his team's confidence is unbelievable. I've seen him put a shot on someone and get a turnover in a crucial moment and instead of defending the next thing Souths are on the attack and have got the momentum.

"Sometimes it is just the will power to smack someone, and he has that.

"When he sees the body shape in front of him about to receive the ball he thinks 'this is it'. It is almost an elation."

Ryan said Su'A would be a huge asset for the Maroons in the upcoming State of Origin series, where he is set to be named in the 27-man squad.

"A bloke like him will scare the living daylights out of the Blues. They will be getting tackled and he will come and give them a wallop in the ribs and they will go 'holy hell that hurt'," Ryan grinned.

"No-one does heavy contact anymore so the tackle has become a bit benign but Su'A is bringing back the contact and that is going to be the most effective in Origin and the game in general into the future."

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