NRL 2024: Jarome Luai doesn’t want a repeat of last year’s Reece Walsh drama

NSW player Jarome Luai is ready to renew hostilities with Maroons superstar Reece Walsh after the pair were sent off in game two of last year’s State of Origin series and is “grateful” for the faith shown by new coach Michael Maguire.

Luai and Walsh were involved in a series of heated moments last year when both were sent off the ground after butting heads during one of the more heated clashes at Suncorp Stadium.

After a heavy loss in Brisbane that night, Luai was dropped in game three and feared his last memories in a Blues jersey would be listening to the 52,433 Queensland fans give him as he walked down the tunnel in the final seconds.

It was a wild finish to the game as Josh Addo-Carr was sent to the sin-bin for punching before Walsh and Luai butted heads weeks after the Broncos full-back pulled the Penrith star’s long mane of hair. series opener.

The three-times title winner described him as “a bit weak” at the time due to the hair-pulling, but Luai understands his role and knows he cannot afford to spend any time off the pitch as the Blues look to win the Shield again.

“He (Walsh) wears his heart on his sleeve and is a competitor because that’s what it takes to get into that Origin arena,” he said.

“You have to have that chip on your shoulder to get here and then it’s about who can bond better and play as a team.

“I think (the hair pulling) was the first game, it’s Origin, man.

“I’m there to do a job, I don’t want to get trashed or anything like that.

“I wear this jersey with pride and I want to do everything I can to get the win, play for my family and everyone in NSW, so that’s where my passion comes from.”

Luai will partner former team-mate Nich Hynes on touch in the opening series in Sydney next week and his form is enough for Penrith to regain the jersey after being sidelined by a dead tire last year.

It’s an incredible comeback from a man who had to face online death threats 12 months ago, with Cody Walker apparently in the box to wear the No. 6 before joining a long list of injured Blues prospects.

Now given the chance to add to his tally of seven Origin appearances, Luai doesn’t want to waste the opportunity.

“It’s a bit of a different feeling for me, especially after being out for the last game,” he said after taking on a more leadership role for the injured Nathan Cleary.

“It was a bit of a realization for me, you never know when the last game is in this jersey.

“So you have to make sure you are ready on match day and enjoy every moment.

“I always believed in myself and knew I had a chance to play Origin if I was at my best.

“I’m really grateful for this opportunity and for Madge to trust me, especially after I left the jersey, so I’m really grateful for that.”

Read related topics:Brisbane

Leave a Comment