READY TO PLAY: J'maine Hopgood (wearing orange singlet) finishes training with the Queensland under 20 team on the weekend.
READY TO PLAY: J'maine Hopgood (wearing orange singlet) finishes training with the Queensland under 20 team on the weekend. Contributed

Former Seagulls junior 'The club made me who I am'

RUGBY LEAGUE: For J'maine Hopgood his path to the NRL continues on Wednesday nigth when he represents Queensland in the interstate under 20's match against New South Wales.

The former Hervey Bay Seagull will run out onto ANZ stadium Sydney in the curtain raiser match for the third State of Origin match.

Hopgood credits the Hervey Bay club for educating him in rugby league.

"The club made me who I am,” he said.

"I live in New South Wales but Hervey Bay is home to me, my best mates are still there.”

He believes that his striving to play in the NRL can be traced back to Hervey Bay.

"I watched my brother Tyrone and other A grade players and wanted to be like them.”

For Hopgood Wednesday's match means everything.

"

"To play in games like this is why we play the game,” he said.

Hopgood is currently captaining the Penrith Panthers Jersey Flegg team and has stepped up into their NSW Canterbury Cup side this season.

The former Hervey Bay Seagulls junior represented Queensland under 18's in 2017 before injuries slowed his trajectory in 2018.

Now fully fit he is reaping the rewards of his hard work.

Queensland coach Scott Prince understands what Hopgood brings to the Queensland team.

"He was selected for his uncompromising approach and toughness,” Prince said.

"We will play him as the left edge second-rower and we know he will deliver for us.”

Hopgood will be supported by family members in the crowd on Wednesday night including his biggest fan, mum Anita.

"I can't thank mum enough for what she had done for me,” he said.

"The sacrifices she made for me to succeed I am so grateful for.”

Mum, Anita believes his success is due to his efforts.

"He is so dedicated and puts so much effort in, I couldn't be prouder,” she said.

To watch the match and cheer on J'maine the match will be live-streamed from 5.15pm on the QRL website. www.qrl.com.au



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