Seagulls junior Hopgood's ready to fly for Queensland
HERVEY Bay product J'maine Hopgood is ready to do himself, and the region, proud in what is the biggest night of his career to date.
Hopgood will don the famous maroon of Queensland's under-18s State of Origin when they face New South Wales at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday.
It is a curtain raiser to the second game in this year's State of Origin series, and while most of the attention is on the main game, Hervey Bay's focus will be on the Seagulls junior.
Hopgood is one of only two Maroons currently based in New South Wales, with Cronulla Shark Ronaldo Mulitalo named in the centre.
Gympie product Tino Fa'asuamaleaui was named on the bench of two-time Origin centre and 153-game NRL veteran Josh Hannay's side.
Hannay was appointed coach of Queensland's U18s last year.
Hopgood captained Penrith Panthers' SG Ball side to the semi finals earlier this year, but the chance to represent Queensland is his highest honour to date.
It is quite the achievement when you consider Hopgood quit the sport as a youngster.
When Hopgood finished his first-ever game, following the footsteps of legendary late Seagull Dale Hopgood onto the field, he said he never wanted to play again because "it was too tough".
His return to the field and subsequent success is a tale that could become Origin folklore should he achieve similar success later in his career.
Hopgood said he enjoyed being part of camp, which included an opposed session against Johnathan Thurston's Maroons at the Gold Coast.
The squad set up camp at the Gold Coast from Friday to Monday, before relocating to Parramatta on Tuesday.
The game will be shown live here. Kick-off at 5.15pm.