Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Mackay rugby league stars Xavier Kerrisk, Jaxon Purdue, Kai Simon and Matthew Watts are well versed on the traditions of Queensland Origin football.
The talented quartet were part of an elite 37-man squad that spent two days training at the Maroons’ recent Under 18 Emerging Origin camp at the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre in Brisbane where participants were given a taste of life as an Origin player.
The Emerging Origin program aims to help develop highly skilled rugby league players for Queensland representation with hooker Kerrisk, five eighth Purdue, centre Simon and power running forward Watts from the Mackay Cutters junior nursery earmarked for higher honours.
Kerrick and Purdue will spearhead St Patrick’s College Mackay in this year’s Cutters Cup, Confraternity Shield and Aaron Payne Cup competitions.
They were joined in the Emerging Origin camp by boom Redcliffe juniors in prop Michael Waqa, second rowers Zac Garton and Larry Siala, hooker Mitch Rogers and front rower Aholoka Toia who starred in the Dolphins’ Under 18 Mal Meninga Cup premiership winning side and Townsville Blackhawks trio of prop Jamal Shibasaki, back rower Elijah-Shane Tapau and half back Reece Foley.
The two-day camps are staged to give players of significant potential an insight into what it takes to play State of Origin football for Queensland.
Several aspects are covered including the Maroons players’ physical and mental preparation, team culture along with testing, field sessions and recovery.
Squad members listened to talks from Maroon legends Darius Boyd and Matt Gillett about the demands of being a State of Origin player and the sacrifices it takes to be successful.
Head Coach Nathan Cross said the camp had a strong focus on development, connection and encapsulating the Queensland Origin brand.
“We aim to give the players a deep understanding of what representing Queensland is all about and the core values that underpin our culture” said Cross.
Rising Mackay rugby league half back Jaxon Purdue at the Queensland Emerging Under 18s Origin camp