Rugby union convert Izaia Perese completed his first Brisbane Broncos field session on Tuesday where coach Anthony Seibold detailed the high hopes the club has that he can break into the top squad in 2019.
The 21-year-old former Queensland Reds winger is on a train-and-trial deal with the Broncos where he is dual-registered with affiliate Intrust Super Cup club the Redcliffe Dolphins.
Perese is returning to his first love by electing to chase a future in the NRL and has backed himself to earn a full-time Brisbane Broncos contract.
He played his rugby league juniors with Brothers Stafford in Brisbane's north where he grew up idolising Billy Slater. It was at lock forward that he got the most enjoyment, largely because of the opportunity for involvement that it offered him.
It was at Brisbane rugby powerhouse Churchie in 2014 that Perese established himself as a class union player where, alongside Kalyn Ponga and Jaydn Su'A, he was a member of the First XV side that swept all before them on the way to the GPS title.
His career was on the ascendancy with the Queensland Reds and received a further boost when he trained with the Wallabies last year, where he received high praise from coach Michael Cheika.
NRL.com understands Perese fell out of love with the game of rugby union and wanted a change and a challenge.
Seibold said he was impressed by Perese's rugby union displays and was optimistic when asked whether he could play NRL next season.
"I certainly think he's got the potential to and you talk to guys like Jaydn Su'A who played schoolboy rugby union with him and he has a very high opinion of him and his ability," Seibold said.
"When you change codes there is quite a bit of detail you need to learn but he has got some fantastic attributes and we are really pleased to have him as part of our group.
"He wanted that challenge, to play rugby league, and he wants to play for the Broncos in particular so we've given him that opportunity. The safe thing for Izzy would have been to stay at the Queensland Reds and play out his contract there and try and push for a spot in the Wallabies, but he wants to challenge himself."
Perese trained at left centre with the Broncos on Tuesday.
Seibold said the transition from union to league was "smoother" as an outside back and was where Perese's best chance of breaking into the team remained.
"We had a look at him at centre today and we'll have a look at him on the wing to see what suits him individually and what suits us as a group as well," Seibold said.
"He looks very powerful. I've seen him make some really terrific runs in rugby and score some real good tries through his power. I am sure he will make one of those [outside back] positions his own in rugby league. He understands it will be a process for him and that he will have to start in the Intrust Super Cup and go from there."
Perese is one of several players with Intrust Super Cup links on train-and-trial deals at the Broncos. Wynnum-Manly's Ed Burns and Keenan Palasia, along with Redcliffe's Jordan Grant and Jamil Hopoate, are all in the same boat.
Five-time premiership winner Michael Hancock, who works in development with Brisbane, said Perese had shown plenty of character to take the punt on a career with the Broncos.
Hancock reflected on the opportunities that can open up for a player on a train and trial deal on the back of hard work.
"When you back yourself usually the best comes out in you. Hopefully [Perese] is going to be successful," Hancock told NRL.com while watching Perese train.
"There are 40 blokes out there all trying to do the same thing and he's got to come up with something that someone else doesn't have here to get noticed.
"Harvey Howard came out here to the Broncos on a train and trial from England, got his opportunity in the 2000 grand final and went away with a premiership ring after working hard. He was a lovely guy who played a lot of reserve grade that year but hung in there."