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Broncos youngster Tesi Niu.

Broncos teenager Tesi Niu's footwork has been likened to that of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck - which is why it is a matter of when and not if he makes his first grade debut.

Niu is expected to be one of the excitement machines for the Broncos at the NRL Nines in Perth.

He has already starred for Tonga in the World Nines and made his Test debut last year in Tonga's 14-6 win over Great Britain where he again excelled at fullback.

The 18-year-old has been given training time at fullback for the Broncos in the pre-season and has been nurtured by the club since his early teens after being identified as a rare talent.

"Certainly he will play NRL at some stage this year," Broncos assistant coach Kurt Richards said.

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"He has worked really hard. I remember when he was 13 years old, I would get pictures from his mum of Tesi doing stretching in the lounge room consistently every night so it's a real pleasure to see a kid like him come through.

"His footwork is his weapon so if you look at players like Tuivasa-Sheck and Benji Marshall, he's not exactly like those guys, but his footwork is pretty remarkable.

"He is a development list player, so June 30 is when he will be eligible to play and we will be excited when that time comes."

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Niu will play for Souths-Logan in the Intrust Super Cup this year and is following a similar path to Broncos outside back Jamayne Isaako who was the competition's fullback of the year in 2017 with the Magpies before becoming a regular first grader with Brisbane the following season.

"Tesi gets his chance now to play week in, week out football with Souths Logan in the Intrust Super Cup and will be playing fullback there, which is where we see him playing," Richards said.

Souths-Logan CEO Jim McClelland said the club was delighted to be able to nurture Niu, a player he described as a rare gem.

"Tesi is a very talented kid and one of the best development fullbacks in Australia and came through our system as a Souths junior, ” McClelland told NRL.com

"I think the important thing is that last year he played centre for us, which is not his position, but he handled that really well.

"This year he will be the starting fullback for us and that will give him the opportunity to continue to grow into that position.

"I am sure he will be a real weapon from the back in the Intrust Super Cup this year after  already having a year in the Cup under his belt."

 

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