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Capricornia School Sport under 12s rugby league coach Mick Roach knows he has the perfect motivation for his kids this week.

In tonight's State of Origin series opener in Sydney, seven of the mighty Queensland Maroons players are former Capricornia School Sport rugby league representatives themselves.

It's an impressive honour board: skipper Daly Cherry-Evans, Dane Gagai, Cam Munster, Ben Hunt, Reuben Cotter, Harry Grant, and 18th man, Tom Dearden.

All seven played for either the under 11s or under 12s teams as they came through the ranks and Roach said it showed the kids of central and north Queensland exactly what they could aspire to.

Queensland Maroons captain Daly Cherry-Evans in his Capricornia days.
Queensland Maroons captain Daly Cherry-Evans in his Capricornia days.

"It’s certainly something we’ll be talking about with those kids to make them realise that of the players that play on Wednesday night, in the Queensland Origin side seven of them sat exactly where they sit now," he said.

"They represented the region, wanting to be footballers as an adult, just like these kids today.

"It makes it easy to aspire to for these kids. They can see this actually happens for people from our area."

Dane Gagai in his Capricornia representative side.
Dane Gagai in his Capricornia representative side.

Roach, who coached Dearden as he came through the ranks, said the strong representation was also a testament to the development of rugby league in regional areas.

With the likes of Selwyn Cobbo (Cherbourg), Kurt Capewell (Charleville) and Felise Kaufusi (Bundaberg) also growing up in central Queensland, Roach said there was plenty to be proud of.

"It just shows the strength of rugby league in central Queensland," Roach said.

"And as far as school sport goes, it shows the importance of school sport for kids.

"We try to develop the kids the best we can. Anyone who has been involved with these blokes when they were younger, it’s great to see them on this stage and how good they're going.

"When they run out on Wednesday night, it’ll be really great for the region."

Main image: Cameron Munster in his Capricornia School Sport jersey.

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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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