Schoolboy highlight reels must always be watched with a sceptical eye.
There are exceptions to the norm when it is clear you are watching a truly special talent – think Taniela Tupou or Kalyn Ponga – but more often than not the clips are filled with flash, not fire.
Jordan Petaia is a different case altogether.
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He doesn’t even have his own YouTube reel.
But dig a bit deeper – into Brisbane State High’s 2016 and 2017 highlights tapes – and one can find the early signs of a teen with the talent required to thrive at the next level.
It’s his defence which immediately caught the eye of his Year 11 1st XV coach Sione Fukofuka and in the 2016 highlight reel the first glimpse of Petaia is a big shot on an unsuspecting Gregory Terrace opponent.
“I coached his older brother Ben (in the 1st XV) and when we saw (Petaia) play in Year 10 we immediately pushed for him to be part of the emerging Reds squad,” Fukofuka told RUGBY.com.au.
“You could see even when he was 15 that he was able to beat defenders and he was always a smart player but it was his defence which really impressed me.
“He was playing 13 at the time but he played on the wing in 2016 and it was pretty clear then that he was a really good 1st XV player.”
Petaia missed Queensland Schoolboys selection ahead of the 2016 GPS season but was named in the Combined States side, subsequently excelling at the Australian Schools Champs.
But it wasn’t until 2017 – a season in which State High won just two games – where Fukofuka saw the star potential in Petaia.
“He singlehandedly kept us in three or four games that season,” he said.
“I remember one try her scored from a starter play – I think it was against Churchie – where he showed all the skills you could possibly ask for.“He had the ball in both hands, had the feet to squeeze through the line, the strength to palm and he beat five or six defenders before having the pace to run 60 or 70 to score.
“It was pretty clear at that point that he was a guy capable of going to that next level.”
Just 12 months on, Petaia is part of an extended Wallabies squad preparing for a Bledisloe Cup showdown on August 18.
He is highly unlikely to feature in coach Michael Cheika’s squad when the next round of cuts come later this week but he is now on the national radar – a feat Fukofuka didn’t even expect despite spending two years in close contact with the star teen.
“To be completely honest I didn’t expect it to happen this quickly,” he said.
“In saying that, he’s always been a guy that has looked comfortable each time he has stepped up a level.
“Each time he has played at the next level he has looked comfortable and that’s a credit to him, his family and how they keep him grounded.”
The Wallabies take on the All Blacks in the first Bledisloe at ANZ Stadium on Saturday August 18, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.