Have Broncos landed the next SBW?
MAROONS coach Kevin Walters is back at Brisbane as the Broncos unveiled a British powerhouse likened in physical make-up to former NRL star Sonny Bill Williams.
Warrington recruit Andre Savelio was among the new faces as the Broncos officially launched their pre-season for the 2018 premiership today with a short and sharp session at the University of Queensland.
But the Broncos have also gone back to the future, with Queensland Origin mentor Walters presiding over the training run in his return as an assistant coach to Wayne Bennett.
With Bennett away on World Cup duty as England coach, Walters took charge of the group, which featured the club's younger brigade and new recruits headlined by Savelio and controversial prop Matt Lodge.
While the hulking 116kg Lodge struggled in a 1.2km time trial, Savelio powered through the run, looking fit and hungry in his bid to emulate Super League stars Sam Burgess and James Graham by starring in the NRL.
Savelio arrives in Brisbane with high expectations. At 188cm and 110kg, the strapping 22-year-old has been compared physically to All Blacks sensation Sonny Bill, who tips the scales at 108kg.
And while Savelio doesn't claim to be the next SBW in a playing sense, the pair share Kiwi blood, with the Broncos import born in New Zealand before moving to England with his parents as a one-year-old.
The second-rower or prop has already played 78 games in Super League following his debut in 2014 for St Helens and believes he can break into Brisbane's top 17 in 2018.
"Definitely, it's been a dream since I was younger to play NRL," Savelio said. "I am looking forward to getting to stuck in and training and hopefully I get a chance to play.
"I wouldn't have come here if I didn't think I could play NRL. That's the plan, to train hard and hopefully Wayne (Bennett) can see that and give me a chance.
"I want to come over here and be as successful as guys like Sam Burgess and James Graham. If you look at the English forwards that have come over here, they have done quite well so that's the aim.
"This is the best comp in the world. Super League is trying to catch up but the aim for a lot of guys (in England) is to have a crack over here.
"I went all right in the testing. I haven't seen the scores but it's good to start training."
Savelio also predicted big things for Lodge, revealing the pair squared off as rivals in junior representative teams.
"I've played against Lodge growing up when I was in academies and we toured Australia," he said.
"He is a big aggressive player so I'm looking forward to playing next to him. The first time I met him, he was 16 and he's a huge fella.
"Everything I have heard about Lodge, he has turned the corner and is on a good path now.
"He has a kid on the way and is looking to rekindle his career."