Maryborough’s Maurice Blair crashes over to score a try for the Melbourne Storm in the round 20 clash with the Brisbane Broncos last season
Maryborough’s Maurice Blair crashes over to score a try for the Melbourne Storm in the round 20 clash with the Brisbane Broncos last season Mark Dadswell

Blair has dream start to new year

MAURICE Blair has always dreamed of playing State of Origin football for Queensland since he first started playing the game in Maryborough.

That dream has now moved one step closer to maybe becoming a reality one day for the Melbourne Storm star.

Blair, who played for Rovers and Wallaroos in the Heritage City before joining the Panthers and then the Storm, has been named in the 14-strong Queensland Rugby League Emerging State of Origin squad.

The squad, which includes some of the most impressive young talent in the National Rugby League and is made up of players representing seven clubs, will go into a three-day camp in Brisbane next month.

The camp is part of a plan to let young players know what being a part of a Maroon team is all about and those in the camp will join the Maroons at various stages throughout the State of Origin campaign.

They will also get put through their paces by two of the best in the business, Newcastle Knights coach Wayne Bennett and Queensland legend and Origin coach, Mal Meninga.

Not surprisingly, Blair, who helped Wallaroos win the Bundaberg Rugby League 2003 A-grade premiership, said he was looking forward to the camp.

"It doesn't get any better than having the chance to work with Bennett and Meninga," Blair, who scored 3 tries in his 11 games for the Storm last season, said.

"This camp is certainly a step in the right direction to me maybe wearing Maroon one day soon."