Ben Lowe: From bench-warmer to Origin prospect

An outsider for a starting position at Souths at the start of the 2010 season, Ben Lowe may be on the verge of muscling his way into the Queensland State of Origin team. <b>Tony Webeck writes for Big League magazine.</b><br><br>John Lang admits it. When the new South Sydney head coach began looking at his roster and trying to piece together the 13 men who would run out to represent the Rabbitohs each week, Ben Lowe was sitting just outside the frame.<br><br>The rangy lock was up against internationals such as Michael Crocker, Eddy Pettybourne, Sam Burgess and recent Queensland debutant David Taylor for one of three spots in the back row. For a largely unfashionable player with less than 30 first grade games to his credit, it was stiff competition.<br><br>“If I’d had all of our players available at the start of the season before we started playing any footy then, no, he wouldn’t have been [in my starting pack],” Lang tells Big League. “Opportunities come and go and the people who do well are the people who take advantage of those opportunities.<br><br>“I never like to put any limits on what players are capable of but Ben’s certainly come ahead in leaps and bounds this season.”<br><br>In just 10 games Lowe has entrenched himself as one of the most valuable members of the South Sydney pack and poses a major threat to his former club, the North Queensland Cowboys, on Monday night at ANZ Stadium<br><br>Against the Warriors in Round 11 he ran for 123 metres and made 38 tackles, while he was one of the standouts in the 50-10 thumping of the Tigers in Round 10, running for 172 metres, chalking up 34 tackles and laying on Souths’ second try for Dave Taylor.<br><br>And last week in their win against the Panthers he was similarly productive, adding a game-high 32 tackles.<br><br>Beaming at the possibility of one day being asked to represent his state, the 25-year-old Toowoomba product admits that being a part of the Queensland Emerging Origin pre-season squad gave his confidence a big lift.<br><br>“Just being in the loop with anything to do with Origin… I love State of Origin time, I’m a passionate Queenslander and I just loved being a part of it,” Lowe reveals of the two-day camp. “I’m just <br>absolutely stoked to even have my name thrown up as a possible choice for Origin and if the time ever comes that I get the chance to play for Queensland I’d be jumping out of my skin to get out there.<br><br>“I remember growing up with [older brother] Jaiman and watching the games on TV wanting to play Origin one day so being around people like Mal Meninga and Wayne Bennett was just awesome.”<br><br>Adds Lang: “I think being selected in that Emerging Origin squad gave him a lot of confidence, for him to think that they were thinking about him.<br><br>“Queensland are usually looking for someone who can do the job and Ben’s been doing that in the club footy. When you do that in the NRL it puts you in the frame for the next step up, which is Origin.”<br><br>Older brother Jaiman has had a significant impact on Ben’s development, providing him a place to stay when little brother followed him first to the Cowboys and then to South Sydney.<br><br>“We had the odd knuckle in the backyard like all brothers do but once we got older we became really close and basically best mates,” Ben says.<br><br>“It was probably the highlight of my career so far, playing first grade footy with him; we’d come a long way from playing backyard footy in Toowoomba.”<br><br>Rabbitohs centre Beau Champion has had a taste of representative football in 2010 and firmly believes his housemate deserves his chance.<br><br>“He’s always in the gym and one of the first at training and one of the last to leave and he’s just always pushing himself,” Champion says of Lowe. “It’s just fantastic to see a guy succeed when he’s worked so hard at what he does.”<br><br>Although Ashley Harrison would seem hard to displace at the back of the Queensland scrum, should Lowe get his opportunity he would join a proud production line of Maroons from Toowoomba.<br><br>Steve Price and Robbie O’Davis both played for the same junior club as Lowe, the Newtown Lions, and his most dangerous opponent this weekend also has a link to ‘the Garden City’.<br><br>“It will be good to play against Jonny [Thurston]. He came out to Toowoomba when he was 15 or 16 and went to the same high school so it will be good to come up against him,” says Lowe, who missed last year’s 46-12 loss in Townsville through injury and will play his former club for the first time on Monday night.