Blues prop Jordan McLean puts a target on the heads of his Cowboys teammates in the Maroons roster ahead of his Origin debut at Suncorp Stadium.
It took Jordan McLean a lifetime to earn a NSW State of Origin jersey.
But the former Young Cherrypicker and Cowboys prop quickly caught on.
McLean received a State of Origin call he never thought would happen and wasted no time in putting a butt on the heads of the four Cowboys teammates on the Queensland side.
“Come on game time, I’m against them,” McLean said.
Four of McLean’s Cowboys teammates will play for the Maroons, including Valentine Holmes, Murray Taulagi, Jeremiah Nanai and debutant Tom Gilbert.
Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership season live and ad-free during gameplay on Kayo. New to Kayo? Test now for 14 days free of charge.
Ironically, McLean has acted as Gilbert’s mentor.
But all of that will be pushed aside next Wednesday night.
Chosen to fill an injured Payne Haas’ void in the Blues pack, 30-year-old McLean will become NSW Origin’s fifth-oldest debutant in the July 13 series decision.
McLean admits his selection came as a shock even to himself.
“I’m still pinching myself that I’m going to make my debut this week,” McLean said. “I didn’t have a goal to play for the Blues.
“I thought the ship had sailed. I am very grateful to be here and it is once again a proud moment for me and my family.
“The last couple of years with the Cowboys have definitely not been my best but at the moment I’m really enjoying my football and I’m lucky to have this reward.”
McLean made eight appearances for Australia in 2017 but his career had flattened out due to injury and form. However, in a surprise move, NSW coach Brad Fittler called McLean with the news he never thought possible ahead of front-row candidates Reagan Campbell-Gillard, David Klemmer and David Saifiti.
“Being older and making my debut at 30 is old,” McLean said.
“This is a really proud moment for me and my family. My boys are seven and five, so they know what’s going on now. I can also enjoy it with them.
“I’m sure every origin isn’t easy, but a decider will be good to go out there and do my best. Definitive [want that challenge].
“I’m sure the fans will be coming towards us and I can’t wait to get out of there.”
Blues winger Daniel Tupou, 31, said McLean’s admission gave him a shocking realization.
“I only found out last night that I’m now the oldest in the squad,” said Tupou.
“They came as a surprise, but McLean is playing brilliantly for the Cowboys and that’s why he’s making his debut. He’s looking comfortable, it’s only a matter of time before we see him doing his thing on Wednesday night.”
Blues draw inspiration from Lismore’s fighting spirit
Paul Sironen, the Balmain Tigers’ veteran front rower and member of the NSW Origin coaching staff, sat in the corner and choked back tears.
Blues fifth Jarome Luai could only shake his head in disbelief.
houses lost. Still no power. Stores closed. streets abandoned. Families forced to live with strangers.
As Lismore Mayor Steven Krieg addressed the NSW State of Origin team on Tuesday, describing the heartbreaking devastation of the flood-ravaged city, Blues coach Brad Fittler stood outside at the Apex Oval and thanked the nearly 1000 faces who stared at him.
“Your spirit, the way you have come together as a community against immense odds, that’s what we draw from you,” Fittler said. “You are an inspiration for NSW.
“The community spirit here is special and we don’t always see that.”
In cold temperatures of 12°C and constant rain, Fittler asked his players to run barefoot on the Apex Oval. Barefoot, all the players shook hands and snapped selfies before training in Brisbane for the first time ahead of Origin III practice on July 13, for a city no closer to bouncing back.
“The least we can do is get dirty right away,” Fittler said. “We’re not here to be pretty.
“Considering the conditions, it’s a great achievement.
“One can imagine that a day like today would bring with it some horrific memories.
“It would have gone over the crossbar so it gives you a good perspective of how hard it would have been to get out of the way.
“Given what had happened, it just made sense for us to be here.
“The lights aren’t working, but that won’t stop us.
“You never know what will give you motivation or a little kick.”
Originally posted as State of Origin 2022: NSW Blues debutant Jordan McLean reveals his Maroons goals
https://www.codesports.com.au/nrl/state-of-origin/state-of-origin-2022-nsw-blues-debutant-jordan-mclean-reveals-his-maroons-targets/news-story/92b28a53313bf0f08ebadc0194095feb?nk=6ba620e477eb8a3ca512da7ac57932be-1657010827 State of Origin 2022: NSW Blues debutant Jordan McLean reveals his Maroons goals