QUEENSLANDER: Josh Radel is ready to play for his chance to put on a maroon jersey.
QUEENSLANDER: Josh Radel is ready to play for his chance to put on a maroon jersey.

Regional footballer has sights set on origin

A DAY that's bigger than his birthday and Christmas combined, John Radel is a passionate State of Origin supporter and said there's nothing that would mean more to him than to one day wear a maroons' jersey.

Already achieving great success in his footy career, such as making the Queensland U16 country team, Radel took a huge step forward in becoming a maroon this year, after being selected for the U18 emerging Queensland origin squad.

As part of the program, Radel was fortunate to have the unique opportunity of attending a pre-season camp earlier this year at the Sunshine Coast where previous Queesland State of Origin players were there to impart their wisdom. The camp aimed to teach young footballers what it means to be a Queenslander and to play in a maroons jersey, as well as how to get the fundamentals and structures of football right.

"It was a good experience and a privilege to be apart of," Radel said. "I learnt so much from the boys on the ground whom I was training with and also from ex NRL players like Corey Parker, who was one of the coaches and Kevin Walters and Justin Hodges.

"The thing that resonated with me the most was how much it means to be a Queenslander and what it meant for them when they were playing football to put on a maroon jersey.

"I had goosebumps listening to 'Hodgo' and 'Kevie' talk about what it meant to them, and hopefully one day I can do that as well."

Encompassing his new skills from the games best, the ex Wandoan Wildcat will now play Mal Meninga Cup which begins in a few short weeks.

The season will run for about nine rounds before finals will be played.

From there, 18 players will be selected to go on and play in the U18 Queensland origin side.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "It's an 18-year-old competition, and I'm only 17, so it will be good for me to play against boys who are older than me.

"It will be tough, but it will also be enjoyable."

Radel is full of confidence for the cup and is feeling the fittest and healthiest he has ever felt.

He's put in the hard yards during pre-season with lots of running and gym sessions and pushed himself.

"Those two things build you up to begin the season right," he said. "Therefore, I'm thrilled that I have pushed myself through pre-season to where I am now."

"If I could make the Origin team, it would be a massive honour for me, but I'm going to enjoy the experience and football for now, no matter what happens."