A trio of premiership-winning North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have been selected for the Queensland Academy of Sport Emerging Origin Squad.
Back-rower Ethan Lowe, centre Justin O’Neill and hooker Jake Granville have all been selected in the 20-man squad and will attend a camp in Brisbane at the end of January.
All three players were in the team that defeated the Brisbane Broncos 17-16 to win the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership.
Featuring players from 10 NRL clubs, the squad will utilise the Queensland Sport & Athletics Centre (QSAC) facilities from 29-31 January.
New XXXX Maroons coach Kevin Walters is excited about the opportunity to work with Queensland’s finest young talent at the camp.
“It’s always good to bring young blood through pathway programs like these,” Walters said.
“Identifying that talent early, getting them in together and getting them around the camp environment is the main objective. Introducing them to the Origin staff in some capacity is another major benefit as well.
“We’re always eager to look at the next generation of players coming through and the best way to do it is through these camps.”
Of Granville, a Central Queensland product who first shot to prominence with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the Intrust Super Cup, Walters said: “He’s had a couple of good years at the Broncos and was a really dominant player for the Cowboys last year so we thought it was time to introduce him to the squad as well,” Walters said.
“We’re very well positioned there at hooker if Cameron Smith is unavailable for whatever reason."
Walters said the Emerging Squad was a “great concept” that had played a pivotal role in Queensland’s Origin success over many years.
“Most of them have played some sort of junior rep football or they know each other, but it’s nice to get them all together,” he said.
“It’s good for the coaches as well, and for myself personally to meet them all and see their different personalities and different traits because at the end of the day we’d like to see them come through and eventually play Origin.”
QAS EMERGING ORIGIN SQUAD: Jayson Bukuya (Sharks), Dale Copley (Broncos), Tim Glasby (Storm), Jake Granville (Cowboys), Chris Grevsmuhl (Rabbitohs), Valentine Holmes (Sharks), Ben Hunt (Broncos), Edrick Lee (Raiders), Ethan Lowe (Cowboys), Nene MacDonald (Titans), Moses Mbye (Bulldogs), Anthony Milford (Broncos), Cameron Munster (Storm), Dylan Napa (Roosters), Joe Ofahengaue (Broncos), Justin O'Neill (Cowboys), Corey Oates (Broncos), Lloyd Perrett (Bulldogs), Korbin Sims (Knights), Jarrod Wallace (Broncos).