THREE weeks after he was sensationally cut from a 21-man squad, Jason King has taken his place among NSW’s elite and set his sights on being a long-term Origin player.
Jason King (centre) will get a start for NSW next Wednesday night after being named 18th man for the first two Origins. Picture: BRADEN FASTIER
King, the eldest of the four Blues’ debutants, admitted he feared the ship had sailed when he was named 18th man for the first two Origins.
But after being thrust into the starting line-up for next Wednesday’s fixture King only has eyes for Queensland.
“I never gave up hope,” King said on Tuesday.
“I continued to work hard at Manly in the hope that one day I’d get my opportunity.
“Hopefully (I can be a long-term player), I’m not thinking too far ahead but hopefully I can put in a good performance on Wednesday night and whatever happens after that would be fantastic.”
King’s club and Origin team-mate Anthony Watmough tipped the front-rower to bring the passion and fire required in the game’s toughest arena.
“He’s a big human and he’ll have a red hot dig,” Watmough said.
“He’s an old school type of footballer, he knows what it’s all about.
“He’s watched enough Origin over the years to know what to do and how to handle himself.
“He’s not going to let no one down, he’s just one of those guys who blossomed a bit late and it’s just good he finally gets his chance.”
Watmough believes King’s promotion as Manly captain at the start of the year has had a huge impact on his form in 2010.
“He’s been massive ever since he’s been named skipper,” Watmough added.
“I daresay it’s a role he’s cherished and taken on himself and he’s really leading from the front for us.
“I think he’s been pretty unlucky the first two times not to get in, but he’ll be chomping at the bit to get out there.”
And while the enormity of beating Queensland is not lost on King, the 29-year-old is confident NSW will have the right attitude to acquit themselves properly this time around.
“Being convicted to the cause, (having) total commitment and doing whatever it takes to get the victory,” he explained is what NSW need.