Matt Scott has literally had a front-row insight into the evolution of Jason Taumalolo.
Scott revealed his "frustrations" watching Taumalolo fail to recognise his full potential before finally becoming a star with the Cowboys last year in their charge to the premiership.
That evolution continued this year when Taumalolo shared the Dally M medal alongside Cooper Cronk.
Scott will go head to head with his club comrade in the Four Nations final when Australia play New Zealand on Monday.
"He is one of the hardest to stop in the game," Scott said. "We've all seen what he can do this year. His last game (against Australia) was a lot better than it was in Perth. He is someone we have to contain in the middle. You've got to work together on him. You can't do it one out. Hopefully he doesn't bring his best."
Taumalolo is now one of rugby league's most damaging running players. But Scott has at times grown irritated by his Cowboys teammate's struggle for consistency since they first played alongside each other in 2010.
"He is a big kid," Scott said. "He is a kid in a 115 kilogram body who can step and move and is really quick. He has matured a lot this year. He has always had that talent. I've watched him evolve over the years and come through the ranks. He has had to work hard on the defensive side and the effort areas. He has got his head around playing week in week out in the NRL this year.
"For me I had to remind myself how young he was in previous years. I found at times I would get frustrated with him. I would sit down and think about his age and how much footy he had played and what I was like at that age.
"You realise you've got to be patient and help him along and not be too critical. He is still so young and has so much footy in him. If he stays in the game and at the Cowboys we'll see wonderful things."
At 31, Scott is eight years older than Taumalolo. As the Cowboys co-captain and arguably the game's best prop, Scott took it upon himself to guide the Kiwi enforcer.
"His evolution has been amazing to watch and good to be part of," Scott said. "I try and talk to him as much as possible.
"He is a bit younger than me and a little bit different so we don't hang out too much together off the field but I love playing with him. He is a great person and a really good personality to have at the club. I've really tried to mentor him where I can. I've never been one to push my opinions on players too much, I try and let them work it out themselves. I've spent a few years with him and tried to help."