IPSWICH product Joe Ofahengaue has had a backwards introduction to his NRL career.
After appearing in last year's grand final against North Queensland, the Brisbane enforcer has notched up two career milestones in his last two games for the Broncos.
The former St Peter Claver College student scored his first NRL try against the Newcastle Knights last week, and in the absence of test-forward Alex Glenn, played his first full half of football against South Sydney on Friday night.
His suberb start to 2016 has not gone unnoticed by his teammates, with Queensland forward Josh McGuire rating Ofahengaue's latest performance for the Broncos as his best yet.
"Our bench has been doing a tremendous job so far this season," McGuire said.
"Joe is a young fella who is still finding his legs in the NRL and I'm very happy to have him there."
With Adam Blair to miss this Sunday's game against the Cronulla Sharks, McGuire was confident Ofahengaue could provide plenty of cover from the bench if needed.
"He's fit , he works hard and he's a great player," he said. "Joe played in the grand final so he's already played some big games.
"Last week he played the second half straight which was a good effort from him. He's only going to get better."
While the two Queensland teams of Brisbane and North Queensland have lead the competition so far this year, Cronulla are shaping as the third front runner.
With the likes of Andrew Fifita and Paul Gallen leading the charge from the front the McGuire is expecting a tough battle in the middle of the pitch on Sunday.
"They are a very classy team," he said.
"I'm sure it's going to be a tough physical game. I think every team is a test at the moment but we'll definitely be taking the game (on Sunday) very seriously.
"I'm looking forward to it."
The Ipswich Jets may have lost their star winger Marmin Barba to an ankle injury but his brother has had all the luck this season.
Since moving from the bench to fullback at the start of the year his performances has cemented his spot in the starting Sharks side.
With Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough sidelined with a hamstring injury for up to six weeks, Kodi Nikorima has been named to start with Travis Waddell named on the bench as cover.
"(Andrew) will be a massive loss," McGuire said. "I can't remember the last time I've played without him so that will be something different.
"The Sharks have plenty of options with Ben Barba hitting form again. They used to be just forwards but now they have plenty of class all over the place."
McGuire was a surprise selection in Mal Meninga's Anzac test side to face New Zealand.
The Broncos forward was named alongside fellow teammates Sam Thaiday, Darius Boyd, Matt Gillett and Corey Parker.
One of the biggest talking points from the Kangaroos selections was Boyd being named to replace Greg Inglis at fullback.
Inglis has been under an injury cloud this season and was moved to the wing.