New XXXX Maroons coach Kevin Walters is excited about the opportunity to work with Queensland’s finest young talent at the QAS Emerging Origin Squad camp commencing in Brisbane this month.
Featuring players from 10 National Rugby League clubs, the 20-man squad will utilise the Queensland Sport & Athletics Centre (QSAC) facilities from January 29-31.
“It’s always good to bring young blood through pathway programs like these,” Walters said.
"Identifying that talent early, getting them in together and getting them around the camp environment is the main objective. Introducing them to the Origin staff in some capacity is another major benefit as well.
"We’re always eager to look at the next generation of players coming through and the best way to do it is through these camps.”
The 2016 squad includes premiership-winning North Queensland Cowboys hooker Jake Granville, a Central Queensland product who first shot to prominence with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the Intrust Super Cup.
“He’s had a couple of good years at the Broncos and was a really dominant player for the Cowboys last year so we thought it was time to introduce him to the squad as well,” Walters said.
“We’re very well positioned there at hooker if Cameron Smith is unavailable for whatever reason.
"We’ve got some good young talent coming through. Jake Friend from the Roosters is another one who has been in the system for two or three years now so it was probably time we introduced more of our Queensland talent to the program.”
Walters said the Emerging Squad was a “great concept” that had played a pivotal role in Queensland’s Origin success over many years.
“Most of them have played some sort of junior rep football or they know each other, but it’s nice to get them all together,” he said.
“It’s good for the coaches as well, and for myself personally to meet them all and see their different personalities and different traits because at the end of the day we’d like to see them come through and eventually play Origin.”
QAS Emerging Origin Squad:
JAYSON BUKUYA (Cronulla Sharks)
DALE COPLEY (Sydney Roosters) (updated January 18)
TIM GLASBY (Melbourne Storm)
JAKE GRANVILLE (North Queensland Cowboys)
CHRIS GREVSMUHL (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
VALENTINE HOLMES (Cronulla Sharks)
BEN HUNT (Brisbane Broncos)
EDRICK LEE (Canberra Raiders)
ETHAN LOWE (North Queensland Cowboys)
NENE MACDONALD (Gold Coast Titans)
MOSES MBYE (Canterbury Bulldogs)
ANTHONY MILFORD (Brisbane Broncos)
CAMERON MUNSTER (Melbourne Storm)
DYLAN NAPA (Sydney Roosters)
JOE OFAHENGAUE (Brisbane Broncos)
JUSTIN O’NEILL (North Queensland Cowboys)
COREY OATES (Brisbane Broncos)
LLOYD PERRETT (Canterbury Bulldogs)
KORBIN SIMS (Newcastle Knights)
JARROD WALLACE (Brisbane Broncos)