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AJ Brimson was too busy hyping up his Titans teammate Moeaki Fotuaika for an Origin recall to even consider that he may have been a chance of returning to the Maroons himself.

Having missed six weeks of the Telstra Premiership season through injury, Brimson only returned in Round 15 and admits a Queensland call up wasn't on his radar. 

But after watching the versatile fullback put in a player of the match performance in the Gold Coast’s 28-12 win over the Wests Tigers, Queensland coach Billy Slater had seen enough to bring Brimson is as 18th man for Game Two in Brisbane. 

As excited as he was to earn a recall, it was seeing Fotuaika's name back in the squad for the first time since 2021 that really got Brimson smiling. 

Brimson back and full of beans

The pair have been teammates since Under 20 level and represented their state together two years ago. 

“When we got a text from our club I saw 'Moey's' number involved, and that was genuine excitement for me. He's been awesome for us and he deserves it," Brimson said.

“I am happy to see him back in here.

“I put up a post on my story about a week ago, when we knew (Tom) Gilbert and (Jai) Arrow were not playing, and said 'just take Moe Fotuaika'. He didn't even reply to me, because he didn't want to seem like he thought he was in or anything.

“He's just a humble kid – not kid – but big man. He deserves it and I know he'll do well.”

Being back in the Origin arena is no small feat for Brimson either, given the tough run the 24-year-old has endured with injury in recent years.

A season-ending Lisfranc injury in 2020 – ironically suffered during his Origin debut – has been followed by injuries to each hamstring this season which has restricted him to just seven games.

Titans captain and now Maroons teammate Tino Fa'asuamaleaui was thrilled to see Brimson back in Queensland camp. 

“I think he's worked hard off the field and the opportunities that he has had to play this year; he's done everything for our team back at the Titans to try to get the win," Fa'asuamaleaui said.

"He's definitely improved this year and it's so good that he's here in camp to learn even more off Bill [Slater] and build from that."

AJ Brimson sits with Billy Slater and Reece Walsh in Queensland camp.
AJ Brimson sits with Billy Slater and Reece Walsh in Queensland camp. ©Erick Lucero / QRL

Brimson meanwhile hopes the experience in Origin camp will help the Gold Coast contingent, which also includes back-rower David Fifita, when they return to club duties. 

The Titans currently sit just one point outside the top eight and take on local rivals the Broncos in Round 17. 

It is really good for our club [to have players in camp]. It has been an inconsistent year, so the more we have here the better for our club.

AJ Brimson

“Learning off other players and coaching staff, we can bring it back, so I am happy that we've got four in the squad.

“Billy’s already done some specific stuff with me and Walshy (Reece Walsh). I am just hanging out with Billy as much as I can and just trying to pick his brain.

“[My role is camp is] pretty much just do as I'm told, just slot in and just be ready to go anywhere and enjoy the week."

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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