IF a mad scientist offered NRL coaches a chancetoclonethe ultimaterugby league forward, the prototype might look something like this.
Height: 193 centimetres. Weight: around 115 kilograms.Throw in outstanding aerobic capacity, agility and explosive acceleration, and you would pretty much have the perfect blueprint.
Given that such technology exits only in science-fiction movies, obviously Knights coach Nathan Brown has noclonesat his disposal.
But in rookie twins Jacob and Daniel Saifiti, he might have the next best thing.
The 19-year-old Entrance Tigers juniors made their NRL debuts in Sunday’s 30-12 loss to the Gold Coast, and on a gloomy night for Newcastle, they provided a glimmer of hope.
Starting in the second row, Jacob played 64 minutes, making67 metres fromnine hit-ups and 25 tackles.
Daniel came off the bench and in his 32-minute stint scored a try, carried the ball 66 metres and stopped 20 opponents.
“They got us to put them on show to the rugby league world and I think the rugby league world would agree, that for two 19-year-old kids, they did really well,’’ Brown said this week.
“If you can close your eyes and imagine where they will be in two years after playing 30 or 40 games if they keep doing the right things, people might get an idea of where they are at …
“They didn’t do their reputations any harm.’’
After the game, the young giants were philosophical about a night they will remember for the rest of their lives.
“I enjoyed myself, I really did,’’ Jacob said.
“I wish I had done some things differently, so I have a few regrets.
“I suppose I can be happy with myself, but at the end of the day it’s a team sport and we didn’t getthe win, so I’m disappointed about that.’’
After starting last season as triallists for under-20s, Jacob said it was hard to believe how quickly he and Daniel had advanced to the NRL.
“It’s something you strive for since you were a little kid,’’ he said.
“There’s other people all around the world who would like to be in my position …so it’s a pretty surreal feeling.’’
Daniel reflected on “the fastest game I’ve ever played’’ and felt he did “some good things and bad things’’.
“It was nice to get a try, and get off the nudie [run] early, but I’d trade that for a win any day,’’ he said.
Jacob said it was a special feeling when Daniel came on in the second half and they shared their first minutes together in the top grade.