McManus almost a certainty for Origin - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McManus almost a certainty for Origin

By Todd Balym 29/04/2009 04:42:53 PM Comments (0)

His family know very little about rugby league but Newcastle's James McManus was one of the most excited players at the NSW State of Origin orientation camp in Sydney on Wednesday.

McManus was one of 40 players named in the Blues squad for this year's series, his rise to representative calculations just reward for his efforts at the Knights.

The 23-year-old has played 55 games straight since his debut in round one 2007 and is an almost certain selection for NSW Country when the team is announced on Sunday.

McManus is the Knights leading tryscorer this year and also looms as a NSW bolter on the right wing.

A rise to State of Origin would be a remarkable achievement for him considering he was born in Scotland and raised in Darwin.

McManus admits most of his family have no idea about State of Origin football and just how big an achievement it would be for him to win a Blues jersey.

"Probably my sister over in London, she would probably be the only one (who knows about Origin)," said McManus.

"The rest of them don't even know what rugby league is.

"It's been a while since I've been over (to Scotland). The last time I was over there I was only 17 and I had only just signed with the Knights.

"They didn't know much about it then but I think they've been able to see a bit on TV every now and again and a bit on the internet but I think a few of them might notice what's going on and how big it is for me.

"It's a big experience for me (to be in the squad) ... you always aspire to something like this and to be in the squad is a big deal for me."

McManus will get a chance to further press his claims this Saturday when he opposes Brisbane's leading tryscorer Antonio Winterstein at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

But he said he wouldn't be nervous knowing he was on the selectors' radar.

"I don't think it's nerves, I think it's excitement," he said.

"First and foremost I have to play well for the Knights and if something like that comes up I will grab any opportunity with both hands."

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