Kingscliff kid ready for Origin
KINGSCLIFF kid Tom Learoyd-Lahrs can’t wait to hear his name called.
It will be at about 8.20 tonight when the first deployment of front-row troops are running low on ammunition that squadron leader Bellamy calls for reinforcements.
That is the moment the 115kg, 1.94m beast has been waiting for – the moment he relishes.
With all that has happened in the lead-up to State of Origin II – political, racial and bordering on farcical – this indigenous All-Star just wants to get on the paddock.
“It’s been such a long week; such an anxious build-up,” Learoyd-Lahrs said.
“I can’t wait for the moment when I come off the bench, hand my card over to the touch judge and just get amongst it.”
Learoyd-Lahrs is the only Indigenous Australian remaining in the Blues camp after Timana Tahu walked out following assistant coach Andrew Johns’ race-based comments, and he just wants to play footy.
“That moment when you run on to the field, that’s my favourite part of Origin,” he said.
“That’s when you know it is time to get out there and compete.”
At 24, the Canberra Raider, who could resemble The Hulk when he wears the lime green colours of his club, is the youngest and least experienced forward in the NSW pack.
But that won’t be a problem, especially with the addition of Nathan Hindmarsh, 30, Paul Gallen, 28, and Luke O’Donnell, 29, to an already experienced bunch of forwards.
“I’ve only played a couple of Origins so to have those three guys around you really helps you relax and concentrate on your game,” he said.
“They help you get your head on the job – it’s great to see how they prepare for such a big game.”