Enjoy the moment
You were picked for a reason
These are just some of the messages players from the Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues wrote on ribbons for members of the NSW Under 19s team.
With the Harvey Norman Under 19s players arriving on Wednesday in Maroochydore, the two NSW sides were able to have a joint team dinner at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort, ahead of Friday’s Ampol State of Origin showdown with Queensland at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
The Under 19s will wear their ribbons in their hair as they run onto the field for the curtain-raiser.
Tears were shed as each Origin player stood beside their opposite number in the Under 19s side and told them why they wrote the message, before reading it out aloud.
When prop Simaima Taufa (Mounties) read her words to No.8 Fatafehi Hanisi (St George Dragons) emphasising how family played a part in every player’s success, there was hardly a dry eye in the room.
Captain and second rower Kezie Apps had to write two ribbons – one for Under 19s skipper Jamie Chapman, who plays fullback, and one for No.11 Hope Tevaga (Wests Tigers).
Millie Boyle (Burleigh Bears) presented No.10 Rose Lina Tau (Illawarra Steelers) with her ribbon but also spoke of what significance the gift carried.
"It's super important... I remember when the guys (Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues) did it for us last year and how special that made us all feel,” Boyle said.
"It was a really nice gesture from them, and I've still got mine from Wade Graham. I will always treasure that.”
The reality is many of the Under 19s presented with ribbons on Wednesday night could move up into the Sky Blues Origin team in 2022.
"Obviously that's something that we want the Under 19s to feel as they work towards their goals... it's good to see that they have the pathways now to keep moving forward," Boyle said.