Brooks comes of age at Tigers in 2018

Luke Brooks has cause to issue a reminder to NRL fans: please remember he's still only 23.

"I've been playing a few seasons so maybe they forget," he said.

It's hard to believe but after making his NRL debut in 2013, Brooks is still one of the youngest halfbacks in the competition.

And after five years riding the rollercoaster of future superstar, the next Andrew Johns and then apparent wasted talent, Brooks is beginning to deliver on his potential in 2018.

Sunday's performance in his win over Manly was arguably the best of his career - or at least since his famous debut against St George Illawarra at the SCG.

He had a hand in setting up three tries, scored one himself and forced three line dropouts as the Tigers controlled the game and possession.

In fact, Brooks has now forced as many line dropouts this year as he did in all 2017, sending him to the top of the Dally M leaderboard and prompting coach Ivan Cleary to declare he should be in the Origin conversation.

It's a scenario many would have tipped when he was a youngster but few would have expected it to have taken this long.

"It's always going to be tough as a teenager coming in. You've got to learn a lot," Brooks said.

"And I think over the past few years I have learned a lot. You see with a lot of halves they don't hit their straps until their late 20s.

"I think halfback is a tough position to learn. Learning from losses helps. And in the past few years we've had a lot of those. But it's all a learning curve."

Under Cleary and with Benji Marshall back by his side for the first time since his first game, those lessons are paying off.

Once renowned as one of the best ball-running teenage halves, Brooks has gone back to taking the line on again.

He's made more runs, had more line breaks and trails only Shaun Johnson and Daly Cherry-Evans for the most tackle busts of all No.7s.

Brooks has made serious changes off the field as well.

Maligned for so long about an apparent inability to deliver on his potential, Brooks has switched off the TV talk shows and the pressure he felt has seemingly vanished with them.

"Being able to get away from footy makes it easier for me to play on the weekend," he said.

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