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Su'a embraces Qld Origin 'hitman' status

Murray Wenzel
·3-min read

Once an easy target in juniors, Jaydn Su'a is aiming to turn the tables as Queensland's State of Origin "hitman" in a likely debut next Wednesday.

That's the tag pack leader Josh Papalii has given Su'a in their Gold Coast camp this week.

And the South Sydney backrower will happily carry it into rugby league's toughest cauldron, named on the bench as one of eight uncapped players - four more are on an extended bench - in Queensland's preliminary 21-man squad on Thursday.

"Growing up, being on the receiving end of a couple, my old man helped me out a lot and instilled that technique in me," Su'a said of his penchant for a big hit.

"I wasn't too good when I was younger and I got smashed around a fair bit and he (Dad) wasn't too happy.

"I've been pretty lucky with some of the shots I've put on the boys, but I'll take the credit."

Papalii said Su'a would bring an element of fear to a Queensland pack relying on a host of fresh faces to stop a third-straight New South Wales series win.

"I don't call him Jaydn Su'a anymore, I call him 'The Hitman'," the Canberra prop said.

"When I play Souths he's one of the names I try and avoid."

Backrow partner Felise Kaufusi hopes he "can dust up some New South Welshman" while forward Christian Welch recalls being "put into next week" by Su'a in an NRL game.

"He can hit that bloke," Welch said.

"There's plenty of boys with plenty of whack; no-frills operators that I think are really suited to the Origin environment."

The 23-year-old was flicked by incoming Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold in the early stages of last season, but has rediscovered his brutal best under Wayne Bennett at South Sydney.

"I don't like talking about it ... I got a few injuries, I was coming back and redid my ankle," he said of his Broncos exit.

"I just fell too far behind ... Seibs actually started me in round one, I was underdone and a liability out there.

"I've got nothing but respect for Seibs; it sucks that I had to leave but I'm very grateful for how it turned out."

Born in New Zealand, Su'a grew up in Brisbane and said there were no blurred lines as he relished his first Origin camp under Bennett.

"One of my idols was Benji Marshall but I've lived in Queensland since I was 18 months old. I'm as passionate as anyone here," he said.

"He's a man with a lot of respect; when he talks, you listen.

"He's told me that if I want it, to go and take it. I can't speak highly enough of him, he's really changed my life."

Queensland: AJ Brimson, Xavier Coates, Brenko Lee, Dane Gagai, Phillip Sami, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans, Christian Welch, Jake Friend, Josh Papalii, Felise Kaufusi, Coen Hess, Tino Faasuamaleaui. Bench: Ben Hunt, Lindsay Collins, Jai Arrow, Jaydn Su'a. Reserves: Kurt Capewell, Moeaki Fotuaika, Dunamis Lui, Hymel Hunt.