A whirlwind 12 months will come full-circle for Jarrod Wallace if he earns Maroons selection for next month’s State of Origin opener.
Last February Wallace was one of eight players deemed ineligible to play for Queensland after breaking curfew during an Emerging Origin camp.
Now playing for the Titans, Wallace realises that kick in the guts might have been the spark he needed to get into another gear.
“I’ve always wanted to play for Queensland. It definitely hurt last year when I wasn’t allowed to,” Wallace said.
“If I get the opportunity to play for Queensland this year I’ll definitely take it.
Wallace returned home to the Gold Coast after spending six years with Brisbane and his homecoming has been impressive.
His return to the holiday strip was due to lack of playing time at the Broncos and the desire to lock down a starting spot. So far he has delivered, playing in all eight games and averaging 63 minutes a match for the Titans.
Wallace quickly realised he was in for a tough slug becoming a starting prop.
“After round one I actually had to roll out of bed, I couldn’t even sit up out of bed I was pretty sore,” Wallace said.
His form hasn’t dropped since then and he has managed 30 tackles or more in every game bar one (he registered 29) and ran for a career-best 264m against his former club in round seven.
Wallace’s transition and form this year earned praise from his schoolboy hero Petero Civoniceva, who backed him for Origin duty.
“He certainly wouldn’t look out of place in an Origin jumper, that’s for sure,” Civoniceva told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
“He’s proven himself over the last couple of weeks that he’s definitely got the qualities to go to that next level and he’s playing great footy which is fantastic to see.”