Canterbury have uncovered the new “T-Rex” after man mountain Shaun Lane gave the club a glimpse of their future in their 20-4 mauling of Melbourne on Monday night.
The 20-year-old outshone his more experienced teammates in a man-of-the-match performance in what was only his first run-on appearance.
The effort will only boost the hype around the 198cm, 110kg second-rower, who looks like a long-term first-grader after just three NRL games.
He and NSW halfback Trent Hodkinson split the Storm defence wide open on the right edge in the first half, scoring one try before throwing the last pass for another.
Hodkinson said there were few players who could perform at such a high level so soon into their NRL careers.
The match was played at the Bulldogs’ spiritual home of Belmore Oval and Lane was just three years old when the side made their previous premiership appearance at the ground in 1998.
“There’re not too many players who can do what he’s done in three games,” Hodkinson said.
“There’s a big future for Shaun and it’s only onwards and upwards.”
Lane received his call-up during the State of Origin period as cover for the side’s representative contingent and has embraced the opportunity with both hands.
He looks to have locked down a role in the side for the rest of the year following a season-ending injury to Tony “T-Rex” Williams.
Lane looks reminiscent of Williams at his best, with his ability to bend the line and possessing late footwork belying his size.
A product of league nursery Endeavour Sports High, he spent the last two years with the Bulldogs under-20s and only began training fulltime with the club this season.
“At the start it was a bit of an eye-opener for the first couple of weeks, it was lot more intensive with Des in your face and stuff,” Lane said.
“It’s a bit intimidating. After the first couple of weeks you sort of get used to it. You realise these blokes are just normal people like us.
“I felt like if I got an opportunity then I could step up.”