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Houston eyeing Blue jersey

Russell Jackson 02/05/2011 03:14:25 PM Comments (0)

This time last year NSW Country Origin secondrower Chris Houston was working as a labourer - not a footy player - and training when he could.

Now the 26-year-old is back on the cusp of playing State Of Origin for NSW, completing a remarkable turnaround after nearly 12 harrowing months out of the NRL while fighting charges of supplying drugs.

Houston voluntarily terminated his contract with the Newcastle Knights in March 2010 but was reinstated late last year after a court hearing dismissed the charges.

His journey back continues in Friday night's annual Country Origin-City Origin clash in the southern border town of Albury.

Houston, who was selected as 18th man for NSW in 2009, is making his debut for Country and can't wait to resume staking his claim for a blue jersey.

"I think this is a fair dinkum Origin trial and so it should be and that's the way I'll be treating it," Houston said.

"A successful Country side will probably mean more of our blokes in the NSW side, so we'll be giving it everything on Friday night."

The hardworking backrower never doubted his ability to play at the top level again and remained focused throughout his time on the outer.

"I kept training when I could ... when I wasn't working and I did everything I could to get myself back in the mix, but I never thought I couldn't make it back," Houston said.

"I had a fairly good pre-season. I came back just after Christmas and it's a credit to the coaching staff at Newcastle for getting me back here."

Houston said the news of his inclusion in the Country team was very emotional for his family, who have endured a tough year while sticking by him.

"They love their footy and they were very happy to see me in the side. It's exciting for all us. Now I have to go out there and do my job," he said.

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