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It was just two weeks ago that towering teenage prop Ben Te Kura put in what Karmichael Hunt believes was the best performance of his career so far.

Last night the young forward made his NRL debut for the Brisbane Broncos in a narrow loss against the Melbourne Storm. He featured in the Kiwis A squad in the recent 2023 Pacific Championships, playing in the Queensland Cup since 2022.

Despite the Brisbane side’s loss, Te Kura’s debut was made sweeter when he crossed for his first-ever try in the NRL.

Hunt, who coaches Te Kura for the Souths Logan Magpies Hostplus Cup team, has watched the 19-year-old develop over the past two years, not only maturing as a person but starting to understand his body and his strength more.

And in the Magpies’ Round 3 clash with the Norths Devils – Te Kura’s former club – Hunt saw him go to another level.

“He’s only three games in (to season 2024) but I especially thought his second half against Norths was some of the best footy he has played,” Hunt said.

“It’s like he’s realised his own strength and what he can do with that body of his.

“He was running really powerfully and causing a lot of havoc for the defence.”

Te Kura – who stands at 205 centimetres – started playing rugby league at the age of six for the Redcliffe Dolphins, staying with the club throughout all his junior years.

When he signed with the Brisbane Broncos, he moved to the Norths Devils where he played Mal Meninga Cup and made his Hostplus Cup debut in 2022.

He played four Cup games in his initial year before switching to Souths Logan last season where he donned the jersey 20 times in a massive year for the Magpies, under the tutelage of Hunt for the first time.

Hunt said from what he has seen, Te Kura is ready for the occasion and knows Broncos coach Kevin Walters would not have named him if he didn’t think he could handle a tough Storm outfit.

“He’s still a teenager but he’s matured quite a bit over the last couple of years, especially when it comes to his footy detail and effort areas,” Hunt said.

“Last year was his first full season of Cup and he had a really great year. As the year went on, he got better and better and by the end he was our best middle.

“When he actually runs through the line and causes havoc with his power, he’s almost unstoppable.

Hunt – who also made his NRL debut as a teenager with the Broncos – said the only job Te Kura had to do was to be himself.

While he admitted the Storm is one of the most daunting teams in the competition, he had no doubt the Wavell State High School product would bring much-needed impact from Brisbane’s bench.

“A trip to Melbourne is as hard as it gets for a 50-gamer, let alone someone making their debut,” Hunt said ahead of Te Kura’s maiden game last evening

“One thing that can be rest assured though when you’re making your debut is you have a team full of mates that will back you up and look after you.

“I know Benny will be feeling nervous and excited as well.

“My advice for him would be the same advice I’d give everyone else: it’s just another game of footy.

“The quicker you realise that and settle into the occasion, all you can do is what you’ve been called in to do.”