HE was omitted from Queensland’s 33-man extended squad but Broncos young gun Pat Carrigan is determined to win over Maroons coach Kevin Walters with a bumper 2020 campaign.
Despite having captained the Queensland under-20s side two years ago, Carrigan was a surprise omission from the Maroons’ preliminary squad for a revamped pre-season camp last December.
The Broncos lock lost out to the likes of Canberra workhorse Corey Horsburgh, Broncos teammate Tom Flegler and Panthers utility Kurt Capewell. But the NRL’s revised season schedule has given Carrigan time to make a statement.
In the wake of the COVID-19 saga which forced an eight-week suspension of the NRL season, the State of Origin series was shifted from its traditional June-July timeslot to a November campaign after this year’s grand final.
That gives Carrigan another four months of week-to-week NRL action to press his claims for an Origin debut in an arena tailormade for his workrate, no-nonsense runs and ability to play 80 minutes.
“One hundred per cent, it’s definitely a goal of mine that I have set (to play for Queensland),” Carrigan said.
“I need to do my job for the Broncos first and put myself in a position where I’m better than the opposite No.13, or whatever role I am playing every week.
“I grew up in Queensland and loved watching the Maroons play.
“My mum is from NSW, so I don’t know how she would go. But I remember the opportunity to play with Queensland in the younger rep teams and I would be around the coaches like Justin Hodges and Scotty Prince.
“I’d love to be able to pull on the (Queensland) jersey one day and hopefully it will come.”
Queensland coach Walters will be searching for fresh blood this year to avoid a third straight series defeat and Carrigan plans to keep incumbent lock Josh McGuire honest in his dream to wear Maroon for the first time.
McGuire’s departure from the Broncos at the end of 2018 came as a surprise to many in the code, but Brisbane insiders were always confident they had a ready-made successor in the industrious Carrigan.
The 22-year-old Carrigan has seen the effects of Origin from close range when fellow Broncos teammates return to Red Hill battered and bruised after a showdown with the Blues.
“Anyone who has played Origin, I have seen the guys come in and back up three days after and they look pretty sore,” he said.
“Three weeks in a row (of Origin games in November) might take a toll on the body.”
His rise has been meteoric. This time last year, Carrigan was celebrating his NRL debut against the Wests Tigers.
Then, after just 19 NRL games, Carrigan was stunned to be handed the co-captaincy for Brisbane’s first two games against the Cowboys and Souths in March when first-choice skipper Alex Glenn was ruled out with injury.
Carrigan admits he initially feared he hadn’t earned the respect of the Broncos group when he was appointed co-captain.
“As a younger fella, you always worry about that (getting respect),” he said.
“It’s a bit hard for me to lead the boys and look across and see a guy like Darius (Boyd) who I respect.
“I was five or six years old when he debuted in the NRL.
“I just tried to take it like I would do my job and I don’t need to tell the boys what to do. I ran out first, but it doesn’t change too much about what we do.
“It was a huge honour to captain the Broncos, but I still feel I have a long way to go in my career.”