Aquis Gold Coast Titans centre Nene Macdonald was today selected in the Emerging Maroons squad which recognises some of the most talented young NRL players who are seen as potential State of Origin players.
It is further evidence of the emergence of the 21-year-old who joined the Titans just before the June 30 transfer deadline last season after just 11 NRL games for the Roosters.
His selection comes after he was chosen by Wayne Bennett for the World All Stars side to take on Indigenous All Stars at Suncorp Stadium on February 13.
It’s understood Kane Elgey was well in the running for selection too before his season ending knee injury suffered last week.
New XXXX Maroons coach Kevin Walters said he was excited about the opportunity to work with Queensland’s finest young talent at the QAS Emerging Origin Squad camp in Brisbane this month.
Featuring players from 10 NRL clubs, the 20-man squad will utilise the Queensland Sport & Athletics Centre (QSAC) facilities from January 29-31.
“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.”
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 (Cronulla Sharks)
DALE COPLEY (Brisbane Broncos)
TIM GLASBY (Melbourne Storm)
JAKE GRANVILLE (North Queensland Cowboys)
CHRIS GREVSMUHL (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
VALENTINE HOLMES (Cronulla Sharks)
BEN HUNT (Brisbane Broncos)
EDRICK LEE (Canberra Raiders)
ETHAN LOWE (North Queensland Cowboys)
NENE MACDONALD (Gold Coast Titans)
MOSES MBYE (Canterbury Bulldogs)
ANTHONY MILFORD (Brisbane Broncos)
CAMERON MUNSTER (Melbourne Storm)
DYLAN NAPA (Sydney Roosters)
JOE OFAHENGAUE (Brisbane Broncos)
JUSTIN O’NEILL (North Queensland Cowboys)
COREY OATES (Brisbane Broncos)
LLOYD PERRETT (Canterbury Bulldogs)
KORBIN SIMS (Newcastle Knights)
JARROD WALLACE (Brisbane Broncos)