State of Origin call-up for Gympie powerhouse
RUGBY LEAGUE: Gympie's Tino Fa'Asuamaleaui has been a Queensland stalwart for a few years and will be looking to unleash on the NSW Blues side.
Tino was in the Queensland under-18s Maroons side last year that went down by two points.
Starting off the bench in last year's game, Tino will hopefully start on the field looking for redemption.
Maroons coach Kurt Richards hopes Tino's experience will make an impact for the Queenslanders.
"I am hoping he can add confidence to the team and just lead by example with the way he plays," Richards said.
"Tino was great off the bench but we are expecting him to start in this game."
Tino's size is handy for any coach but it's what he can do with the size that has impressed selectors.
"I saw Tino in the under-14s Brisbane Broncos system. He has always been big but his knowledge of the game has improved," Richards said.
"He has got more knowledge of the game and positional knowledge over the past two years: You have to know how to use your size well and I have noticed it's what Tino has been working hard on."
The Queenslanders culture is what the Blues have envied and is something these future Maroons are taught.
"We will enter camp on the Gold Coast on Friday, June 1 and there is not a lot of training but bringing the group together," Richards said.
"He is pretty likeable amongst the group and hopefully he can help bring the boys together. Tino is a lovely guy and his parents have done a great job."
Despite not having coached Tino before, Richards said he was looking forward to coaching the Gympie young gun.
"He is a lovely guy but also has a bit of aggression which hopefully he can use against the Blues side," he said.
"I am looking forward to coaching him for the first time and he has come a long way."
It was in the dying stages of last years game that the Maroons went down but this years side will be ready for the challenge.
"We have picked a strong squad which Queensland have done but so do NSW. The boys will need to be ready to compete down in Melbourne," Richards said.
The under-18s play a curtain raiser to the State of Origin series on June 6 at the MCG.