Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

FROM FAN TO STAR: PETAIA THE FULL PACKAGE; Teenager Backed to Make Step from Reds Rookie to Wallabies World Cup Bolter

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

FROM FAN TO STAR: PETAIA THE FULL PACKAGE; Teenager Backed to Make Step from Reds Rookie to Wallabies World Cup Bolter

Article excerpt

Byline: Jim Tucker

JORDAN Petaia was a young fan of just 11 when the strength of his support for the Queensland Reds passed the ultimate test when he was tossed a Crusaders jersey to wear.

It wasn't for a backyard game at his Logan home but to show allegiance at the biggest Reds' occasion of the century when his family and relatives headed to Suncorp Stadium in 2011 for the Super Rugby final.

In that frenzied packed house with more than 50,000 fans, Petaia's rugby DNA was irreversibly stamped "Queensland".

The latest boom colt to wear the 'Kid Dynamite' tag in Australian rugby is so hot as a centre find he could be the youngest-ever Wallaby to play a World Cup match, at 18, in Japan in September.

At every turn, you have to remind yourself how young he is.

Petaia is footy's Millennium Man.

He was the first young gun born this century (March 14, 2000) to reach the top level in any of Australia's major footy codes.

He was literally a budding star on L-plates when he first landed at the Reds last year because he was so young he needed his parents to give him a lift to Ballymore training every day.

Socceroos whiz Daniel Arzani may have been the youngest at football's World Cup in Russia last year at 19 but he was born in 1999.

Just 16 months removed from his days at Brisbane State High, Petaia has a composure some players never find.

You have a full package when you add his nifty footwork, smart work with the ball, confidence under the high ball and the controlled power running that blasted through All Blacks fullback Ben Smith in Dunedin last Friday.

It's another of sport's brilliant coincidences that he gets to play the champion Crusaders for the first time. On Saturday night. At that same Suncorp Stadium.

"That 2011 final was inspirational. …

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