Game I on Wednesday night will be Jack de Belin’s maiden State of Origin appearance but that won’t stop the New South Wales forward from putting his best foot forward.
And the man known as JDB has admitted he wants to become a leader of the Blues in a brand new era for Origin and NSW.
“It might only be my first State of Origin game, but I’ll be out to bend some bodies in defence and play the ball quickly after my carries to try to help make something happen. I’m more effective carrying the ball now than ever,” de Belin wrote for playersvoice.com.au.
“I had a good offload in the under 20s, but I kind of stopped using it for a few years because I was too scared to make an error. I felt like the Dragons coach at the time, Steve Price, didn’t have enough confidence in me to use my skills.
“But in the last few years since Paul McGregor took over I’ve become a regular starter who plays big minutes, rather than splitting my time between starting and coming off the bench. I know the impact I can make. I’m pretty mobile and I’ve got good footwork, so I can break a tackle.
“My game is centred on defence, but in the last couple of years my attacking game has caught up. I can offer something with my ball-playing.
“I also believe I can become a leader at Origin level.”
The Blues head into the match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with a fresh look but will come up against a Queensland team looking to continue Australian sport’s greatest rivalry.