Broncos back-rower Jaydn Su'A has already announced himself as one of the game's most promising running forwards and now he's set his sights on securing a starting spot in 2019 by becoming a skilful ball-player as well.
Su'A, who as a youth idolised Sonny Bill Williams for his toughness and ball skills, is hard at work on his conditioning in pre-season after returning to training from a broken ankle but extra sessions with assistant coach Kurt Richards working on his catch and pass and core skills are set to turn the 21-year-old into a more complete player.
Su'A played NRL 15 games in 2018, including his last 10 in a row in the starting side, before a broken ankle against the Warriors in round 18 ended his season.
NRL.com has watched Su'A and 19-year-old back-rower David Fifita, also back at training after surgery on an unstable syndesmosis joint suffered in the semi-final loss to the Dragons, fine tune their passing skills under Richards at Broncos HQ.
"'Richo' has got me and Dave doing a fair bit with the ball, and Payne [Haas] has joined in too," Su'A told NRL.com.
"He wants to get a few more of us ball runners playing with the ball more and add another asset to our games.
"I have a lot to improve on in my game. I used to ball play when I was younger. You grow up doing that stuff but it is about taking it to the next level now."
There are video highlights of Su'A on the internet from when he played First XV rugby union for Churchie in Brisbane as an inside centre. What stood out then was his crunching defence, hole running and offloading awareness. Passing technique did not appear to be a strength in those clips and that is what Richards wants to develop.
"Jaydn Su'A, in particular, is doing a lot of work on his catch and pass which he has been a bit deficient in. We are really going to try and improve that area of his play for next year," Richards told NRL.com.
"Jaydn was just getting to that level where he was learning and progressing and then he had that [ankle] injury. We want to get him back to that level and keep him growing from there.
"In schoolboy footy [Su'A and Fifita] were big and strong and a lot of players couldn't handle them but now we have to teach them to be skilful with the footy. You can see how keen they are to learn these basic skills. If we can help them to improve the little things it will take care of the big picture."
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Wayne Bennett gave Su'A his NRL debut in 2016 against the Wests Tigers as an 18-year-old when he became the youngest ever Broncos forward to both start and play a full 80 minutes.
He was brought into State of Origin camp ahead of Game One to get a taste of Queensland culture and as sign that his Maroons debut is not far away.
In the short term Su'A is learning as much as he can off Test back-rower Matt Gillett and working away at losing several kilos so he can start the year at "a fit 105 kilos".
"It has been tough. It has been four months since I broke my ankle but I am starting to run again. It is a slow process but I'm getting there," Su'A said.
"My goal is to be a starting second-rower, but I've got to perform and train hard for it.
"I try and look to 'Gillo' at training and take a leaf out of his book. I watch his defensive movements and how he has got good footwork and is so explosive, so I always keep an eye on what he is doing."