The Gold Training Titans NYC team have had two players chosen in the 18-man NSW under-20s State of Origin side to play Queensland as the Origin III curtain-raiser next Wednesday night.
Titans skipper Jed Cartwright, whose season has been tormented by injury but has been in tremendous form as a back-rower when he’s had good game time, has been chosen as 18th man while Brian Kelly has been chosen on the wing.
Last year Kelly scored four tries on the left wing for the Blues, playing outside of John Olive who has since joined the Titans, in a Blues victory. He was up against fellow Titans under-20s teammates of 2015, Oshae Tuiasau and Karl Lawton who were Maroons representatives.
With few players available for Queensland in the current team, Kelly – a Junior Kangaroos selection this season with Olive who was unfortunately injured while in camp – and Cartwright are our only Origin representatives.
“I’m stoked, it was a surprise really,” said Cartwright whose father John, the Titans inaugural coach, played eight Origin games for the Blues and will be in the crowd on Wednesday.
“I’m only 18th-man and while it would be disappointing if I don’t get a run it will be great to be in camp for five days and I’ll learn everything I can.
“I never made a state team before at any level in rugby league, so it’s great particularly after not being able to get any real momentum this year because of injuries and concussions.
“Dad was the first person I call; he was wrapped.”
There is certainly a second-generation family feel to the Blues side. Former Kangaroos and Blues forward Paul Sironen’s son Bayley, former Blues centre Jason Croker’s nephew Lachlan are also in the side long with Canberra Raiders grand final winning hooker Simon Woolford’s son Zac and ex-Wests Magpies player Trevor Cogger’s son Jack.
The NSW team is:
1. Matt Dufty - St George Illawarra Dragons
2. Brian Kelly - Gold Coast Titans
3. Cory Denniss - Newcastle Knights
4. Curtis Scott - Melbourne Storm
5. Reuben Garrick - St George Illawarra Dragons
6. Lachlan Croker - Canberra Raiders
7. Jack Cogger - Newcastle Knights
8. Oliver Clarke - Penrith Panthers
9. Grant Garvey - Sydney Roosters
10. Alex Twal - Parramatta Eels
11. Tyrell Fuimaono - Parramatta Eels
12. Bayley Sironen - Wests Tigers
13. Nat Butcher - Sydney Roosters
14. Zac Woolford - Canberra Raiders
15. Taniela Paseka - Wests Tigers
16. Max Elliott - Brisbane Broncos
17. Tevita Cottrell - South Sydney Rabbitohs
18. Jed Cartwright - Gold Coast Titans