Jet-heeled teenager Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow has drawn comparisons with former NRL great David Peachey as he looks forward to making an explosive debut for North Queensland in round five.
The 18-year-old former schoolboy rugby union star will line up on the left wing against the Warriors in Gosford on Friday, carrying a tag as potentially the fastest player in first grade.
Cairns-born Tabuai-Fidow turned heads with some scintillating tries during the Cowboys’ Nines triumph in February but has had to wait patiently for an NRL breakthrough.
Coach Paul Green will unleash the speedster in place of Ben Hampton in one of several changes following last week’s 26-16 loss to Cronulla in Townsville.
Green would not be drawn on whether Tabuai-Fidow can challenge Melbourne’s Josh Addo-Carr as the NRL’s unofficial quickest mover.
“He’s up there. He’s one of those guys who only runs as fast as he has to,” Green said.
“I played a lot of footy with David Peachey and he was similar. Peach would always stay a metre or two ahead of whoever was chasing him.”
Tabuai-Fidow was plucked from the Queensland Reds academy two years ago after starring for Brisbane Grammar in rugby union.
He impressed last year at the Townsville Blackhawks under the eye of former Queensland and Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen and has represented Australia at under-18 level.
Green is delighted a player who hails from North Queensland has made the grade and believes the young flyer can build on his Nines highlight reel.
“Part of giving him a run in the Nines was to see how he’d go in that company,” Green said.
“He had a good tournament over there. I would have liked to give him a run earlier but he had a couple of injury concerns.
“The left edge in particular didn’t have a great night last week so I thought it was a good opportunity to give him a run.
“There’s a pathway for talented North Queensland kids so it’s a good story for us. It’s a good story for Hamiso as well, as long he plays well.”