Moses Mbye could play a number of roles tonight for the Maroons. Photo: Adam Head
Moses Mbye could play a number of roles tonight for the Maroons. Photo: Adam Head

Moses steeled to take next step after long journey

MOSES Mbye isn't shy about discussing his "emotional" reaction upon learning of his selection in the Queensland State of Origin side.

The former Noosa Pirate - who couldn't get a look-in for representative football as a junior - will live out his boyhood dream when he makes his Origin debut at Suncorp Stadium tonight.

One of three debutants named in the Queensland side by coach Kevin Walters for the series' opener, Mbye admitted he had been overcome when told of his selection.

"It was quite an emotional feeling, to be honest," he said.

"Obviously it's every kid's dream who grows up in Queensland to play for the Maroons, so to get that opportunity ... it's something that I'm extremely proud of and extremely excited about.

"It's still sinking in. Every day you're in the team room or sitting around the dinner table, you're looking left and right and the calibre of player sitting in the room is just phenomenal.

"You're pinching yourself every day."

Mbye will play a key role for the Maroons tonight, selected by Walters to fill the utility role from the bench.

Although the 25-year-old plays fullback for his club side, Wests Tigers, his versatility means he could be called on to slot in anywhere in the backlineor even fill in at dummy-half.

Whatever his role, Mbye has declared he is ready to step up on the Origin stage.

"It means everything to play for the Maroons," he said.

"It's a great responsibility. I think it's much bigger than the game itself - it's a huge honour to represent the people of the state, your family, yourself and the people who have been along the journey with you."

While delighted to get his chance in the Origin arena, Mbye acknowledged an injury to close mate and former Noosa Pirates teammate Jake Friend had likely paved the way for his selection.

The Sydney Roosters' hooker was considered a frontrunner for the Queensland side before he was sidelined by a biceps injury.

"I spoke to him (Friend) after I was selected - he said his congratulations," Mbye said.

"It's disappointing for Jake to miss out on the opportunity to get a Maroons jersey ... but stuff him, he's won two comps and played for Australia."

Mbye said Friend had played an important part in his development, as had the Pirates.

"I look at Jake like a brother and one of my footballing idols," he said. "We grew up together playing football in the backyard - he was always a couple of steps ahead of us.

"He's been a big inspiration for me to play rugby league, and his family as well. His parents were the president and treasurer of the local club when I was coming through.

"The Noosa Pirates played a huge role in my development. I spent hours and hours there. I loved being around the club.

"There's so many people to thank.

"The journey involves so many people, so many important people and without them you don't get to this situation."