QLD playmaker gives direction to troubled youth

Creative Queensland Residents halfback Jamal Fogarty does more than just lead the Burleigh Bears around the park each week in Queensland's Intrust Super Cup competition.

The 24-year-old also leads troubled young kids with unpleasant backgrounds to a better place, giving them hope and direction that there is a better life ahead for them.

For Fogarty, who works at the Youth Justice and Child Safety Service, helping young people who have lost their way can be more rewarding than winning a game of rugby league.

He knows he is dealing with people in dire need on a daily basis.

"You think you might be having some crappy days until you work with some of these kids and you suddenly realise: every day is a good day for us," Fogarty told QRL Media as he prepared for Sunday's Residents clash with NSW, the prelude to State of Origin Game II.

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"When you see the way they live day-in and day-out it makes you feel pretty grateful for the way we live."

Fogarty's role sees him deal with issues such homelessness and kids who are in and out of detention.

"I didn't have the best of upbringings myself, to be honest, but I made a few changes in my life and suddenly I started going places," Fogarty said.

"I just want to try and give these kids a bit of direction and try and steer them down a different path to show them what they can do, even if people keep telling them they can't."

Fogarty, who says his childhood often consisted of being dragged from one party to the next, found a crutch in rugby league and believes the things that helped him can also help other kids.

"It doesn't have to be rugby league, it can be a project they complete and gains them confidence and self-esteem," said Fogarty.

"If I can save one kid from taking the wrong path it will be worth it."

"Rugby league gave me stability in my life. It taught me the value of hard work and commitment.

"It made me challenge myself."

Fogarty feels lucky in some ways to be wearing the No.7 for the Residents after missing several weeks of the season with a mystery ankle injury which was never properly diagnosed.

"I'm quite surprised to be here given the number of weeks I was sidelined," he said.

A lot of judges expected young Northern Pride halfback Jake Clifford - who has been in outstanding form this season - to get the nod for the No.7 but he was named as coach Jon Buchanan's 18th man.

Clifford, who has been hovering around the NRL fringe, suffered a serious shoulder injury during the 2016 season but came back with a bumper 2017 to be named the club's NYC Player of the Year last year.

Fogarty will be hoping for a better result than when he last played at ANZ Stadium, in 2016 for Burleigh in the National Championship final against Illawarra Cutters.

"I played down their once in the National grand final and we got toweled up by the Cutters," Fogarty recalled.

"I am hoping it is a different result this weekend."

Fogarty yesterday received his game day jersey in a special presentation by State of Origin stalwart Billy Slater.