Wayne Bennett says his rising crop of youthful stars "need to be around men" which is why he insists their development will only be better for playing in the Intrust Super Cup competition which kicks off this weekend.
Boom props Payne Haas, Pat Carrigan and Thomas Flegler will join flying fullback Corey Allan among a suite of young Brisbane Broncos to line up in the statewide competition.
Many of those players would have been eligible for the former national under 20s NYC competition which was instituted in 2008 but Bennett said he was glad that format was no more.
"They’ll be better for it, I know that much," Bennett said when asked about Haas and company playing in the Intrust Super Cup.
"I never supported the 20s from the day they came in because it wasn’t the real world. It took a lot of money and a lot of waste. We’ve got it right now, and I’m pleased with it. Those boys need to be around men, and they mature a hell of a lot more when they are around men than when they are around their peers."
Jaydn Su’A, who played for the Broncos in their 34-12 loss to the St George/Illawarra Dragons, was a standout for Souths-Logan Magpies last year where Bennett said he learned plenty in the Intrust Super Cup.
"[Su'A] has grown a lot since he’s been there," Bennett said.
"It is a tough competition. I love that competition. These guys that have got these reputations and have got [NRL] contracts are playing against guys that don’t have any of that, but those guys they play against are tough and they make life very difficult for them."
Haas, 18, will make his Intrust Super Cup debut for Wynnum-Manly against the Northern Pride in Brisbane on Saturday night and will line up alongside 19-year-old Carrigan who was the Broncos NYC player of the year in consecutive seasons.
The duo will be coached by former Canterbury Bulldogs forward Adam Brideson who said they would take another step in their development in the Intrust Super Cup.
"I was fortunate enough to coach Patty when he came through the NYC at the Broncos when he came through as an 18-year-old and I am looking forward to working with Payne as an elite kid," Brideson said.
"They will both get to test themselves in the second-best competition in Australia against hardened men who have played some NRL and a lot of Intrust Super Cup so they will understand what it takes to play at that high level.
"I have no doubt that Patrick and Payne will be up to it and are both looking forward to the challenge of playing against men.
"Payne is obviously a very large young man who has being playing against kids his own age who aren’t the same size so he will come up against some challenges that he hasn’t had early on in his career."