J'maine Hopgood in action for Queensland's under-18s team during the State of Origin game against New South Wales at ANZ Stadium.
J'maine Hopgood in action for Queensland's under-18s team during the State of Origin game against New South Wales at ANZ Stadium. QRL Media / NRL Photos

Hopgood on the right track to the NRL

J'MAINE Hopgood will fulfill his NRL dream if he continues his current path.

Hopgood, a Hervey Bay Seagulls junior who now plays for Penrith Panthers, was named in Queensland's under-20 emerging Origin squad for 2018 earlier this week.

The lock will join 25 other talented Queenslanders in learning from one of the greatest centres of the modern game, U20s Origin coach Justin Hodges, at the Queensland Academy of Sport next month.

For Hopgood, 18, the news came as a shock.

The gun back-rower started the season with a goal to play every SG Ball and U18s game, but his recent history shows he blitzed those targets.

He captained Penrith's SG Ball team, played so well he was picked for Queensland's U18s State of Origin team, then finished the year with 12 appearances in the Holden Cup.

Now, he follows in the footsteps of NRL players, State of Origin stars and premiership winners.

Melbourne Storm prodigy Brodie Croft played halfback in this year's U20s Origin team, alongside Gold Coast winger Phillip Sami and highly-rated Brisbane centre/back-rower Jayden Su'A.

Previous U20 Queensland teams have featured the likes of Cameron Munster, Anthony Milford, Valentine Holmes, Corey Oates, Coen Hess, and Dylan Napa, all of whom were part of the Maroons' State of Origin-winning teams this year.



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