Jai Field has accomplished plenty since he burst onto the scene when he carved up established first graders four short months ago at the Auckland Nines.
Selected to play five-eighth for the NSW Under-20s Origin side, the St George Illawarra Dragons live wire has captured the attention of many with his speed and ability to break open a game; most notably scoring a clutch solo try the Holden Cup Preliminary Final last year at Suncorp Stadium to take the match into golden point.
He returns to the same venue in just three days, only this time in the State of Origin arena for his state.
“To put on that sky blue jersey will be a very special moment,” Field tells NSWRL.com.au.
“I’ve grown up watching State of Origin and been a Blues supporter my whole life, it’s going to be great.
“[Camp] has been a great experience so far, all of the boys have gelled together really well and we clicked well in our first training session.
Among Field’s list of accomplishments was playing in the Charity Shield, followed by making his NRL debut in Round 1.
He came off the bench in his first of three appearances, before waiting until the Dragons’ two most recent games to play again.
Debuting is a massive achievement for any player fortunate enough to make the NRL, but Field has loved and supported the Dragons ever since he could remember, making the occasion even more special.
“I came through my juniors as a St George junior, I’ve supported the Dragons all of my life,” Field says.
“It was definitely very special to play for the club I’ve supported, something that I’ll remember forever.”
“I’ve watched [the Charity Shield] for 10 years growing up as a boy and got to play in my first one this year, so that was a good experience as well.”
The Dragons dominate the make-up of the NSW Under-20s Origin side, with teammates Reuben Garrick, Reece Robson and Blake Laurie also being selected by coach Danny Buderus.
The players entered Kiama on Friday night and have one more training session this afternoon before flying to Brisbane tomorrow morning.
Field admits having club teammates in camp is a positive and is looking forward to linking up with Reece Robson on Wednesday night, but is also excited at the prospect of playing with his new halves partner from Parramatta, Troy Dargan.
“It’s good to have some local boys around, it makes camp a bit more comfortable as well; camps can be a bit awkward at the start with those icebreakers,” Field says.
“Robbo [Reece Robson] is that player you always want on your team, especially in an Origin game, he’ll always make his 50 tackles, bring line speed and he’s very tough.
“Troy Dargan, I’ve grown up playing Harold Matthews, SG Ball and under-20s against him, it will be good to actually play alongside him for once.”
Field is only 19 years old, and while he is still adjusting to seeing his name in the newspaper and on television, he is excited for what the future holds.
“It was definitely a very funny feeling, people outside of my inner circle started to notice what I could really do,” Field says.
“It was an eye opener into how quickly things can change.”