Jarome Luai admits had he been picked to start in last year’s Origin series for the Blues, he would’ve been out of his depth.
Penrith Panthers star Jarome Luai admits that he would’ve been out of his depth had he been picked to start in last year’s State of Origin series for the Blues.
Luai was a part of Blues coach Brad Fittler’s extended squad during the November series last year. The Penrith playmaker didn’t earn selection, with the NSW coach opting to pair Nathan Cleary with the likes of Luke Keary and Cody Walker instead.
The 24-year-old has taken his game another level this season and currently leads the NRL this season in try assists, which has now led to many pundits calling for the running five-eighth to feature in this year’s Origin series.
And while his name comes up at the discussion table, Luai admits despite having a strong season last year and playing in the NRL grand final during Penrith’s loss to Melbourne, he didn’t feel he was ready to suit up at state level.
“Last year, I wouldn’t have said yes,” he told Wide World of Sports.
“I didn’t think I was good enough to named among those players.
“Being in that camp and the year that I had last year, it was definitely a confidence booster for me.
“[Playing Origin] is definitely on my list now. It’s a big reason as to why I want to take that next step.”
Asked why he would’ve thought twice about taking to the field, Luai said the opportunity felt all too surreal for him to take in at the time.
“I wouldn’t have thought I would have gotten that opportunity,” he added.
“For him to put me in that spot and experience being among those boys and what I did in that five-week period with the boys – I made a lot of good friends in that camp.
“I definitely want to chuck a jersey on with those boys [this year].”
One thing Luai does have over rival playmakers is his established combination with club his teammate Cleary, who’s the current NSW halfback.
Fittler recently admitted the pair’s combination at Penrith is a worthy note he will keep in the back of his mind the selection table.
Luai is keeping things simple for now, with Fittler remaining tightlipped on what his halves pairing will look like for the series opener in June.
“He hasn’t [spoken to me],” Luai said.
“For me, I like it like that. I don’t have to think or change too much,
“Freddy is letting us play and my performance will speak for itself. I don’t really mind that he hasn’t said much.
“I think if I keep playing well, my combination with Nathan and others in the team – if I keep playing well, things will take care of itself.”
AFL stars Jack Viney and Mitch Robinson recently went up against NRL stars Jarome Luai and Jordan Kahu to see which code and which state can claim the best Call of Duty player. Each player teamed up with a professional Call of Duty streamer to go head to head in 2v2 Gunfight.
“It was really fun,” Luai said. “I was a bit nervous, I hadn’t played in a while.
“I know Mitch Robinson is quite a good gamer, he’s on Tik Tok and all his videos come up, I was a bit nervous.
“There was [trash talking], all competitive and fun stuff.
“He’s a bit similar to myself out on the field. We love competing whether it’s on the field or off the field. I had played with him previously, so it was good to get one up on Mitchie.
“It’s always fun to compete against other spots. I had a lot of fun.”