Wallace embraces Petero's Origin challenge
Jarrod Wallace never wants to give up his Queensland Maroons jersey and has taken on board the warning of his idol Petero Civoniceva that he must fight every week in clubland to keep it.
The 26-year-old Gold Coast Titans prop started in both Maroons wins in last year's Holden State of Origin Series and Civoniceva said it was a hard-earned reward.
''Jarrod, for a young guy, has been super-impressive with the way he's challenged himself and gone to a new club where he has proved to everyone his ability and quality,'' Civoniceva told NRL.com.
''He so rightly deserved his Origin opportunity last year but the challenge for him is to back that up this year because the Queensland selectors want to see him fight for his spot week in and week out.''
NRL.com took Civoniceva's advice to Wallace and he said the challenge was one he would embrace, especially with Matt Scott set to return for this year's series.
''Petero is 100 per cent right because every season there are always guys pushing to be better than the year before,'' Wallace said.
''Last year I played Origin but if I go into my shell there are guys like Jai Arrow playing outstanding footy and ready to step up.
''I don't want Kevvie [Walters] and the Queensland selectors to say 'he was here last year so we'll give him another chance'. I want to be picked because I am playing good footy in the number eight [jersey] here at the Titans.
''I want to wear the Maroons jersey until I retire. It means everything to me. I got a taste for it and I want it again.''
Wallace left the Broncos after the 2016 season to become a front-row leader with the Titans. He won his Origin jersey on the back of consistent barnstorming efforts for the Titans but said the round three 54-8 thrashing by St George Illawarra was cause for self-reflection.
''I had a bit of a slow off-season and I was disappointed in myself in the Dragons game where I didn't do as much as I would have liked,'' he said.
''After that I said to myself 'I won't do that again' because I want to be the guy who goes out every week who the boys can rely on to do the job and fill that leader role.''
It is a leadership role Civoniceva said all Queensland representatives should not take for granted.
''Any time you are recognised as a Maroons player it is all about how you come back the following year to earn the right to wear the jersey again,'' he said.
''That is the challenge and it is never a given. I had that mindset throughout my whole Origin career because so quickly it can be taken away from you.''
Wallace said he wanted to be remembered as a player who represented Queensland in the same manner as his idols.
''My favourite players - Matt Scott, Shane Webcke and Petero - have always stood up and that is what I want to do and that is the legacy I want to leave,'' he said.
''My mentality going into every game is 'I want to be the best on the field'. I may not get man of the match every week but I want to walk off the field knowing I gave 100 per cent and did the best for the team.''