How good is it to see young Brisbane forwards Payne Haas and David Fifita get rewarded for their incredible seasons in this weekend's Test matches?
For Fifita to be named captain of the under-23s side at just 19 years of age and still eligible for under-20s, with some older and more experienced players in that team, just goes to show how highly regarded he is.
We all saw last year he was a bit of a talent but to go on and make his Origin debut for Queensland and play so well, then what he did in the PM's XIII game and World Cup 9s and now to captain Australia in under-23s, he's just a natural leader.
I'm personally very proud of him because he's not just a good player, he's a really nice kid as well. He's very humble and very respectful and you have to love that about him.
This extra responsibility will propel him forward. With the maturity he has already he will take this in his stride and he won't be fazed by it.
As with any young player coming through people want to compare him to other great players like Sonny Bill Williams, but to me he's very much his own player. He's unique, especially for his age, with all that mobility and strength. Like we saw at the Nines, scoring tries and setting them up, he moves so well. He's nearly the perfect footy player because on top of all that his head is screwed on straight as well.
Match: Australia v New Zealand
Round 2 -
Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong
- Nine Network
If I did have to compare him to anyone it would be less a Sonny Bill and more someone like Brad Clyde, who's another young forward who was very mature at a very young age as well as being a serious athlete. Clydey was a unit even back in Australian Schoolboys and still is now, but smart as well and a good person with a good footy head.
What Haas has done this year is amazing as well. He's won all the accolades he could win. He's had an outstanding season and he's another young fella the Broncos would be very proud of. Even though he plays for the Blues, that's OK, he's a Bronco and he loves it here!
You look at his stats this year and what he did and his fitness levels, it's incredible. He and Fifita are both in the upper echelons of Brisbane players along with the backs when it comes to the sprint Tests too, they're just a different type of athlete.
You don't see either of these boys slowing down any time soon either, they're good young athletes with big futures and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do in national colours this weekend.
On the other side of the field it's good to see an old fella like Benji Marshall get rewarded with a return to the New Zealand captaincy. Those old legs are still dragging him around! You have to give him credit, he's a legend of the game and had such a good year and to go on and get the honour of leading his country against and get the record for most games as captain, he deserves it.
I'm also happy to see Great Britain touring again, even though they won't be playing in Australia. I was lucky enough to play my first Test against Great Britain in the 1992 World Cup final at Wembley Stadium in 1992 and we always had a good rivalry with them.
With all their players available, if the Canberra boys can keep up the form they showed this year I think they will be very hard to stop against Tonga.
Match: Tonga Invitational v Great Britain
Round 2 -
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
- LIVE PASS