Former Seagull makes headlines at U18s State of Origin
JUST after making headlines as captain of the Penrith Panthers' SG Ball side, J'maine Hopgood will be back in the spotlight again for State of Origin.
The former Hervey Bay Seagulls player was named as one of the players for the Queensland Under-18 side on Monday, and is set to clash with NSW next Wednesday at ANZ Stadium.
It's the biggest moment in his rugby career, with the 17-year-old joining the ranks of Ronaldo Mulitalo from the Cronulla Sharks, Travis Turnbull from the Western Mustangs and Reihana Marsh from the Gold Coast Titans.
Hopgood, who had a decorated nine year career with the Seagulls, said he wouldn't have made it this far without the support of his home club.
"It means the world for me. This will be my biggest game to date," he said.
"I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for the junior side back home."
The young wonder moved to the Western Suburbs of Sydney in February to secure a spot on the Panther's starting side.
Prior to his stint, Hopgood won two player of the year awards while with the Caloundra Sharks in the Sunshine Coast.
The team will start training today before relocating to Paramatta for the opening game. And Hopgood is confident they will put up a fight in Sydney.
"Last year they were beaten 26-nil, I want to bring back a bit of love for Queensland," he said.
"We'll still take this experience through the camp and learn through the Open Maroons boys.
"Even if we don't come away with a win, I'm still just happy with a selection."
Hopgood also thanked his family, who had supported him through the move.