What a year it’s been for Chris McQueen, playing his heart out for the Aquis Gold Coast Titans week in, week out, a proud Queenslander of English heritage, who last weekend realised his international dream, earning his first Test Cap for England after coming off the bench in the team’s comprehensive win over Samoa.
A player who usually rips in from kick off, McQueen was forced to wait on the bench until called on by Coach Wayne Bennett early in the second half.
“A great experience, something that I was very proud and very honoured to get the chance to play," McQueen said.
“It was a bit different, I spoke to Wayne before the game and he said that I would probably get on in the second half which is what happened and I think just sitting there so long and watching the game and it being my first game for England I think I burnt a bit of nervous energy sitting on the bench there so I got on and I gassed out pretty quick and I moved from back row to the middle and it was tough to find my feet again but I hung in there and did an alright job.”
Versatile, dangerous and equally as comfortable playing in the pack or at centre, Chris has his heart set on returning to the England fold during the upcoming Rugby League World Cup, well aware his performances over the next few months for the Gold Coast will certainly have a big bearing on team selections.
“Yeah I think so, obviously we have got along time between now and the world cup, so the most important thing for me now is to come back and play good footy for the Titans, but I think that squad we had there on the weekend was a pretty good squad.”
A Kingaroy junior, Chris cut his teeth with Wynnum Manly in the Queensland Rugby League competition before being signed by the South Sydney Rabbitohs going onto play 115 first grade games between 2009 and 2015 when he returned to Queensland to join the Titans.
There have been also two Prime Ministers XIII appearances, six State of Origin appearances for Queensland and last weekend’s Test debut for England along the way for the hardy utility during and the milestone matches continue this weekend with Chris set to run on for his 150th NRL first grade game against the Storm on Saturday night. Chris admitting, he almost miss-timed the achievement.
“It’s taken me a long time to get there, this is my ninth season in the NRL, but it has crept up, I thought it was next weekend and I was arguing with people about it, my manager and that going no it’s definitely next week against Manly and then when the Titans posted something on Instagram I said come and have a look here and I actually counted the games back from one hundredth game and it works out that it is this weekend”
The Storm arrive in Queensland in good form with McQueen saying the Titans are under no illusions that each player will need to lift in order to overcome the loss of Kiwi International Kevin Proctor suspended for four weeks.
“He’s a quality player, he’s an international for a reason and so whenever someone of that calibre is out of the team, there is always big shoes to fill but someone will come in and do a job for the team and whoever it is, they are going to have to do the job.”