There is plenty of time before State of Origin 2019 lists are released, but Newcastle Knights centre Jesse Ramien has made it his goal to play in the 2019 series.
He made his debut with the Cronulla Sharks in 2017 and got the starting job last season, where he exploded with 10 tries, tackling efficiency above 86 percent and averaged over 110 metres per game.
After just 21 senior games, Ramien has advanced to secure a spot on NSW coach Brad Fittler’s list of Emerging Blues.
Ramien himself understands the scenario confronting him. Origin players are mostly veterans who have been under the bright lights and pressure of state representative play before and most will declare that the week-in-week-out fixtures of the NRL are nothing by comparison in terms of pressure.
Beating out Latrell Mitchell and Jimmy Roberts is a task Ramien considers formidable, telling the Knights’ website, “Probably New South Wales centres at the moment, probably Latrell and Jimmy Roberts – they’re sort of killing it at the moment, so yeah, probably them two.”
Mitchell has incumbent status as a run-on for the Blues and he outscored Ramien by seven tries while almost equaling Ramien in tackling statistics.
Ramien was not saying whether he was glad to be away from Cronulla. On the surface, it would seem that moving from the fourth Sharks following the Telstra NRL Premiership competition don to the Knights’ 11th is a step backward, but as everyone knows, it is far easier to stand out and shine and Ramien can boost his case for Blues selection if the Knights were to move up and that move could in any way be attributed to Ramien.
In one of those ironies of sports competitions, Ramien’s first opportunity in the Telstra 2019 Premiership competiton will be against his old club Cronulla in Round 1.
The bookies must have liked what the Knights did in the offseason, as they have installed Newcastle as slight favourites, despite the wide disparity of the results from 2018.