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Gun Rooster would 'love to play Origin for Queensland'

The Sydney Roosters have been adept at identifying the best of Queensland's rising league stars and Queensland Under 17 City centre Robert Toia is just another prime example.

The Roosters swooped on Ipswich product Sam Walker who had a breakout season in the NRL this year.

Robert is still at Nudgee College, where he has been a star in the First XV rugby union side, but he is regarded as a Queensland Maroons player of the future after making the 12 years state schoolboys side and the Australian under 15 outfit.

City coach Jesse Maclean said Robert was a player with a huge future.

"Robert has the spatial awareness and physical attributes to go with his natural ability. He looks like a real footballer," Maclean said.

"At his age you often get one or the other but Robert seems to be someone that has the skillset to make him a big threat now, and when he gets older if he can keep everything together.

"He has worked hard on his game to get it to the point where I gather multiple clubs are interested in him. The Roosters don't often come and get outside backs from Queensland."

Robert said he was relishing his time at the Roosters.

"I played a bit of Harold Matthews at the beginning of the year with the Roosters. Playing with the club has been fun, but challenging as well," Robert said.

"Daniel Anderson, who is recruitment down there at the Roosters, came to one of the Met North trials and that is when he got me.

"I am signed there until the end of 2023."

The COVID-19 outbreak has limited the amount of school and community football played this year, but Robert can't wait to line up for City after returning from an injury lay-off on fire. His form for Nudgee has been red hot.

"I am pretty keen to play for City," Robert said.

QLD City v QLD Country - Under 17 Boys

"I had stress fractures in my lower back and was out for six or seven months just over a year ago.

"I couldn't do any running or gym for a long time. It was tough but I had great support from my parents and everyone in my family that got me through.

"Playing rugby union for Nudgee has also been one of the best experiences of my life. I have learned so much.

"We only got to play five games but we won all of them. I am most comfortable in the centres but I can play fullback as well.

"In the NRL, I admire the likes of Latrell [Mitchell] when he is playing for the Blues. Joey Manu and Justin Olam are both crazy as well. Olam is just dominant and Manu has everything."

Robert is of Tongan heritage and has been captivated by the rise of the national team and a current Brisbane Broncos young gun.

"It has been inspirational to watch them," Robert said.

"I am a big fan of Tesi Niu. Even when he started out he always did what he was asked. He just did his job."

While also a rugby star, the Maroons brains trust will be delighted by Robert's aspirations. 

"I would love to go and play Origin for Queensland," Robert said.

"I was born in New Zealand but I played my junior footy at the Redcliffe Dolphins. I learnt heaps from all my coaches. It is a really good club."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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