Canterbury Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson has thrown his support behind Bulldogs' junior Jake Averillo, declaring the speedster is the club's long-term fullback.
Despite starting the season at halfback, Averillo has emerged as a real asset for Canterbury in the number one jersey, winning both matches since interim coach Mick Potter shifted the 21-year-old into the custodian role.
Ever since he made his early 2020 NRL debut in front of a crowd-less ANZ Stadium, the youngster has started in every single backline position except for fullback - until Round 14 this year, that is.
Slotting in after the dropping of Matt Dufty to NSW Cup, Averillo has ran for 236 metres, broken four tackles and scored four tries across his two games in the new role, and skipper Josh Jackson has seen enough to know they're onto a winner.
"Everyone knows his attributes: he's fast, he's strong and he can break tackles. You can just tell he's really enjoying his footy," Jackson told reporters.
"He's looked fantastic and I think it looks like there might be a really long-term opportunity for him as the number one for this club" Jackson said in the lead-up to this week's clash with Cronulla.
Blessed with the ability to play anywhere across the backline, Averillo is free to talk to rival clubs from November 1, however following Jackson's comments, it appears the utility is in the club's plans for the future.
Matt Dufty, on the other hand, doesn't appear to be.
While Jackson wouldn't confirm his potential departure, rumours have swirled of a move to the Super League for some time, however the zippy former Dragon certainly won't back down from the challenge.
In his last match for the Bulldogs' NSW Cup outfit, Dufty managed to score two tries, lay on another two, broke three tackles and the line once to go with his 175 running metres. He most definitely isn't going down without a fight.
Averillo's move to fullback has coincided with the birth of Jacob Kiraz's career, another Canterbury junior making his mark on the big stage. While the duo enjoy their time in the spotlight, it does signal the end of any potential chatter about Josh Addo-Carr moving to fullback, something that was floated around the time of Trent Barrett's departure.
Especially with his skipper behind them, there is little doubt that Averillo will only continue on his upwards trajectory the longer he spends in the fullback role, starting with this weekend's home game against the high-flying Sharks.