Bronco debutant Mago in 'Taumololo mould'
The door is ajar and new Brisbane Broncos forward Patrick Mago has been urged to bash it down and fulfil the potential that shrewd judges believe will see him emulate Cowboys powerhouse Jason Taumalolo.
The 23-year-old forward will play off the bench for the injury-ravaged Broncos against the Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
After being developed by the Souths-Logan Magpies the former Junior Kangaroo went to Canberra where he captained the under-20s before being signed by the Cowboys and playing two Telstra Premiership games in 2017.
Signed by Brisbane, he has been on fire with Souths-Logan in the Intrust Super Cup this year and has earned his elevation into the Broncos NRL side.
Souths-Logan CEO Jim McClelland insists Mago has the potential to be a Taumalolo style of player.
"I always thought he had the ability to mould himself to be like Jason Taumalolo because he is big enough and he's got the upper body strength, the feet and the speed," McClelland told NRL.com.
"Patrick is a devastating runner on an edge and has some real skill, a good fend, and footwork at the line, which is why we were surprised that the Cowboys let him go.
"It took him a while to get his head space right and play NRL and it has been a long route.
"The door was ajar last year when he got a taste. It is still open and hopefully he can bash the door down against the Roosters. While the Broncos are down on stocks he needs to make his mark."
Mago can play in the middle or on an edge.
He was in the frame several rounds back for an NRL call-up but teenager Payne Haas was given his chance before injury ruled out the giant teenager.
McClelland has a 40-year association with Wayne Bennett and said Mago was the style of player the Broncos mentor favoured.
"He is a big body and strong ball carrier and that is the sort of player Wayne likes," McClelland said.
"That's why Wayne brought him down from the Cowboys and put him with us. I think his fitness at the start of the year was a bit of an issue but I’m sure it's not now.
"He analyses his game each week and knows whether he has given you everything and whether he has let you down. He is a very honest kid who wants to go out and do the job.
“He played with Tevita Pangai down at the Raiders and he is a similar player. He may not have Tevita’s ball playing ability but he is certainly a damaging runner.”
Pangai told NRL.com he was confident Mago could "do a real good job for us".
"He's got a lot of skill and a bit of grunt as well," Pangai said.
Mago is one of a suite of NRL-contracted players brought through the Souths-Logan junior program including Anthony Milford, Brenko Lee and Edrick Lee.
"That is what we have been hanging our hat on for a long time, our juniors, and it is just great we've been able to get Patrick in a black and white jumper and now into a Broncos jersey," McClelland said.
"We’ve had 10 juniors play in our [Intrust Super Cup] squad this year which is very good for us.
"Obviously we don't want them playing there if they have the ability to go to the next level and Patrick is one of those who can play at that level and stamp his mark."