Jack Reed has no intention of renouncing British ties to chase Origin jumper
He made a shock representative defection to England, but Broncos ace Jack Reed says he has no intention of renouncing his British ties to again chase a Queensland Origin jumper.
HE made a shock representative defection to England, but Broncos ace Jack Reed says he has no intention of renouncing his British ties to again chase a Queensland Origin jumper.
The 23-year-old had been flagged as a graduate to the annual QAS Maroons Emerging Origin squad in 2012 after his outstanding rookie year at the Broncos, in which he scored 12 tries from 27 games.
But Maroons hierarchy were blindsided when Reed surprisingly relinquished his Origin dream and opted to play for the Poms in the Four Nations tournament last November after fielding an approach from England coach Steve McNamara.
Reed is seemingly as Queensland as canetoads and XXXX. Reed moved to the Sunshine state at age two with his British parents, took up league at four for Bribie Island, served an apprenticeship in the Queensland Cup and even toiled away on a building site in Banyo for $15 an hour as he patiently plotted a path to the NRL.
The well-built centre could conceivably sever ties with England, serve a two-year waiting period and again be eligible for Queensland, but Reed has come to terms with never wearing the coveted Maroons jumper.
"It's hard, but I'm definitely sticking with England," Reed said.
"I watched Origin as a kid and me and dad would love watching Queensland, but when it came down to it, I was born in England, my whole family is from England, my parents still have the broad Yorkshire accent and the chance to play for my country ... I couldn't knock it back.
"I had a chat to my old man when I was weighing up what to do. He said it doesn't matter what you do, I'm just proud of you for making the NRL, but it was hard to say no to international football when Origin football wasn't quite on the radar yet.
"I had a great time at the Four Nations and I loved playing for my country, I've made my decision now and I won't be going back on it.
"I'm looking forward to pulling on the England jersey again as soon as possible. Hopefully I get picked in their World Cup squad next year but at the moment I want to do well for the Broncos."
Such was Reed's representative conundrum, the flame-haired utility sought the counsel of Broncos colleagues Peter Wallace and Corey Parker.
Maroons coach Mal Meninga also met with Reed to outline his potential opportunities at Origin level, but the immediate lure of Test football with England proved too hard to resist.
"It was a great quandary for Jack," said Reed's manager Jim Banaghan.
"I spoke to Steve McNamara (England coach) and he really wanted Jack to play for England.
"Mal sat and spoke with him and told Jack he’d love him to be a Queenslander, then Jack went away and spoke to his family.
"He would have loved to do both, but it can’t be done.
"I think a lot of people think it’s too hard to get into the Queensland side but they overstate that because Queensland’s depth has never been strong. After the top 20-odd players, it falls away quite markedly so a guy like Jack wasn't too far away.
"I don’t think he went for the easy option, he just went with his heart."
Not that Reed suddenly considers himself a selection untouchable at the Broncos. Despite now being an international, the 98kg utility is driven by a simple mantra: the next game could be your last.
It is a mentality spawned by repeated setbacks, including his latest two years ago, when Reed almost quit the game in Australia to play lower-tier league in England and sample Europe.
"I looked at my career, I wasn't going anywhere in footy really, so I thought about popping over to England to play a bit footy and enjoy travelling," Reed says.
"But then Norths Devils came along and 'Hook' (Broncos coach Anthony Griffin) saw me at Devils training.
"Being in my 20s, I was looking at some 18 and 19-year-olds running around in the NRL and I figured: 'Mate, I'm not getting any younger'.
"That's why I take it one game at a time. I don't take for granted that I'm going to be (in the Broncos team) every week.
"I like to stay humble. I've learned that in this game, you don't know where it can take you."