In less than two seasons, Daniel Tupou has moved from NSW Cup player to NSW State of Origin star.
Two seasons ago Daniel Tupou was plying his trade in the NSW Cup and less than three weeks ago he played his first ever representative match.
In this era of talent identification and youth pathways, Tupou has come out of the blue to be chosen for his NSW debut.
Tupou was a key figure in Newtown’s NSW Cup triumph in 2012, and played just the last three NRL games for the Sydney Roosters that year, scoring a hat-trick in his second match against Wests Tigers.
The quietly spoken, unassuming 22-year-old was a key figure in the Roosters’ premiership success last year and despite his rapid rise, he only played his first every representative game at any level in City’s 26-all draw with Country in Dubbo earlier this month.
On Tuesday he was named on the wing by NSW coach Laurie Daley for Origin I in Brisbane on May 28.
Tupou knows what it takes to produce in the big games, putting in one of his best performances in last year’s grand final and he says he’s ready for what Origin will throw at him.
“I’m pretty shocked, but pretty excited and happy to be part of this,” Tupou said.
“First time I spoke to Laurie was the night before the team naming and I was just buzzing out he was actually calling me, it is amazing.
“It is daunting but I see this as a big challenge for myself and I am looking forward to the test.
“The grand final gave me a lot of confidence, I will be taking a lot out of that into this game.
“But I see this as a bigger game.”
Tupou said he was surprised at his rise through the ranks.
“I am still taking it all in, I am surprised at how quickly I got here from where I was two years ago,” he said.
“I’m thankful for that.
“To be honest I didn’t think I was a chance, I was just concentrating on playing good football for the Roosters but it is great to be chosen.
“It’s great to be here.”