Ben Te'o Queensland's new Origin hitman
Sun, 01 Jul 2012 12:01p.m.
A year after fearing a second broken arm had ended his playing career, intimidating Brisbane utility Ben Te'o is poised to make his State of Origin debut at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night as Queensland's new hit man.
"It was a hard road back then," reflected Te'o four days away from experiencing one of the biggest thrills of his career.
"It's amazing what 12 months can do and getting your confidence back through hard work. It's a dream come true."
Te'o has the ability to hurt players in full-blooded tackles in much the same way as another Kiwi-born back-rower Tonie Carroll - Queensland's last genuine hit man.
The 25-year-old, though, could not have picked a bigger or tougher game to achieve his dream after turning down repeated offers to play for New Zealand because he wanted to play Origin.
Te'o's destructive defensive style and powerhouse running game have convinced Maroons' coach Mal Meninga he's the right player to put some fear into an aggressive Blues' pack which has taken the points in the first two Origin battles.
In April, the South Sydney-bound Te'o produced a shuddering shoulder charge that cleaned up Wests Tigers' prop Matt Groat.
While he copped a two-week ban for his sickening hit, Te'o might have escaped suspension if the tackle had been in the Origin arena where the the rules are notoriously more lenient.
Te'o plans to try to duplicate the way he plays off the bench each weekend for the Broncos.
But the massive adrenalin rush that will engulf him on Wednesday night will have him fired up to wreak havoc the moment he gets onto the field.
"That's just how I play, I've always played like that and I try and do it week in and week out for the Broncs," he said.
"I'm extremely proud and excited to be wearing the Maroon jersey for the first time.
"It's something I've been work towards for a long time, dreaming about and working hard for."
Te'o, who attended the same Gold Coast high school as Benji Marshall, played for the Junior Kiwis and represented Samoa at a World Cup.
But he's always said publicly that playing Origin for Queensland was his ultimate goal.
He treats critics of his Origin selection - because he was born in New Zealand - the same way he'll treat the Blues on Wednesday night -- with disdain.
"When I played for Samoa (which under the rules at the time he was allowed to without jeopardising his representative ambitions), Origin was in the back of my mind," he explained.
"It (Origin) is something I've been thinking about for a long time.
"I wanted to represent my father's heritage in the World Cup and I knew straight after that there was a clean slate and I could declare my allegiance for the Maroons."
Te'o said he'd be "living the moment" on Wednesday night.
"I just want to have fun, contribute and feel proud to be at the pinnacle of the sport."
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7/07/2012 6:00:13 p.m.
Self imposed moniker wrote:
Who has this guy put a shot on to be called a "hitman"? That's right an under 20 player in Groat. When he tried to put a shot on a real NRL player he broke his arm on TREX...BUWAHAHA!
1/07/2012 10:29:30 p.m.
samuel rex tiki, png wrote:
i as a rugby follower, i commented him as a great player..he deserves to wear a maroon jumper. thanks for the selectors to having confident in him, im sure he'l do the job for the maroons..rex admirer, png
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