Debutant Origin centre has a Warwick connection
RUGBY LEAGUE: Warwick-born centre Justin O'Neill will make his State of Origin debut for Queensland next week.
O’Neill first played NRL footy for Melbourne Storm and was part of last year’s North Queensland Cowboys premiership winning side. The team was announced at a function on Tuesday night.
He was born at the Warwick Hospital, christened at the Killarney Catholic Church and lived at Tannymorel for the first year of his life.
The outside back was christened Justin Germain O'Neill, his second name coming from the christian name of his grandfather from Vanuatu, Germain Samsen.
His father Sean was merchandise manager at the Dalgety store in Grafton St, Warwick, in 1990-1991 when the family lived on the Southern Downs. The Salvos Warwick Family Store now occupies the former Dalgety building.
Justin told Queensland Rugby League media after being informed of his selection that he was pretty excited to try on the Origin gear on Tuesday.
“There was a lot of media speculation about the team but all I tried to do was play my best week-in, week-out and hope to make the team,” he said.
“Playing Origin was a childhood dream and one I have been striving towards for the past couple of years.”
His first Origin chance almost came in 2013 when he was put on standby for injured winger Darius Boyd. In the end, Boyd played and O’Neill has waited another three years for his big chance.