On the eve of their clash with their NSW representative rivals, the Queensland Under 18 Origin squad were given a boost by a post-dinner jersey presentation from Maroons superstar Darius Boyd.
The Maroons master fullback-turned-centre Boyd presented each of the Under 18s team with their representative jerseys in a lighthearted ceremony in the team room at their hotel in Parramatta tonight.
The room hushed on Boyd’s arrival, before Under 18s coach Josh Hannay introduced the Maroons great. The 27-game Maroons stalwart, however, was there to deliver more than apparel to the juniors in his Origin-eve appearance.
Boyd spoke about his boyhood dream of playing just one game of NRL, and how much wearing a Queensland Maroons jersey meant to him and his family.
“You are representing you family, and your state,” Boyd said, “and everyone who’s ever helped you along in your career.
“Just do whatever you can in your preparation, do your best on the field and the result will take care of itself.”
The fact that Boyd gave up his time the evening before a high-pressure Origin clash showed the importance the Queensland Maroons place on mentoring their junior counterparts.
“We are always watching the juniors from the sideline and on the telly in the rooms, so we wish you all the best,” Boyd said.
As a former Origin player himself, Hannay spent much of the week teaching his charges the Origin legend.
“In the space of seven days, I’ve tried to impart the Queensland ideals and the respect for the jersey to the guys. Whenever the senior players come in to talk to the boys - they love it. You could have heard a pin drop when Darius came in tonight.
“I try to reinforce to these boys that the stories around Origin are all real. The emotions are real and the history isn’t fake. I just want them to take that all in.”