Young gun joins race for Broncos No.7 jersey
He looks and talks like Cooper Cronk but Broncos young gun Cory Paix is determined to be his own man in his quest to unseat Kodi Nikorima as Brisbane's No.1 halfback.
Broncos fans could be forgiven for thinking the club have poached Sydney Roosters champion Cronk when they lay eyes on his lookalike Paix in Saturday night's trial against Wynnum Manly at Kougari Oval.
The physical parallels between Cronk and Paix are eerie. At 180cm and 87kg, Paix is two centimetres taller and one kilogram lighter than Cronk and he possesses the same slick haircut as the former Queensland Origin star.
Even the way Paix speaks - polished, articulate, polite and measured - suggests he is cut from the same intellectual cloth as Cronk.
But when it comes to playing style, the 19-year-old is keen to carve out his own identity in his four-way battle with Nikorima, Tanah Boyd and 17-year-old Tom Dearden for the Brisbane No.7 jumper.
"I'll take the comparisons (to Cronk)," Paix says with a laugh.
"People say I look like Cooper, but I want to be my own sort of player.
"Cooper Cronk is a great player and obviously I'd love to achieve what he has in the game, but it's important I do what works for me.
"I just want to be known for my style."
The Queensland under-18s representative made a fair statement last week, scoring a clever solo try in his senior Brisbane debut as the Broncos thumped Souths Logan 42-0 in their season-opening trial at Warwick.
Now the Toowoomba junior gets another chance to impress, named on the bench for Saturday night's hitout against Intrust Super Cup feeder-club Wynnum Manly.
Broncos coach Anthony Seibold wants Paix to serve a 12-month apprenticeship with Redcliffe this season, but the halfback or hooker says he would not let Brisbane down if given an NRL baptism this season.
"I think NRL is still a while away but I'm preparing for whatever the Broncos throw at me," Paix said.
"It's a big year for me. I will be playing for the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Intrust Super Cup, so it's definitely a stepping stone and I will look forward to progressing throughout the year.
"At the moment I'm training as a halfback. I have played a bit of hooker but that's more of a bonus if anything, it's a great investment in my future and adds another string to my bow.
"It was good to get that taste of senior footy (last week), so if I do get the opportunity to play NRL this year, I will be ready for it."