Why Kahu rates Kiwis above Origin
After Wednesday night's enthralling State of Origin spectacle you'd be forgiven for thinking it's the pinnacle of rugby league, but that's not the case according to Brisbane Bronco Jordan Kahu.
Kahu is a proud New Zealander who moved to Australia as a teenager to chase his rugby league dream.
The quietly spoken 25-year-old is now one of Brisbane's most consistent and has gone on to represent his country on four occasions.
He admits there are times when he wished that he could represent Queensland but says even if he could, the decision to represent New Zealand instead would be an easy one because of his family and the impact his country has had on him.
"I do wish I could play Origin every now and then," Kahu said.
"I had to make a decision whether I was going to represent New Zealand or Queensland and Australia when I first got here. It was an easy decision for me. My family is from New Zealand and I'm a New Zealander through and through.
"The reasons I would want to play for Queensland or Australia are the opportunities that Queenslanders and Australians have given me to get where I am.
"I was a union boy growing up and I didn't play any league until I got here. All my development as a rugby league player has come from Australians and Queenslanders and that's probably the only reason I thought about playing for them… It would have been a way to pay them back for helping me get to where I am.
"In saying that, I bleed black and I could never face a Haka or play against the Kiwis."
Kahu moved to Australia when he was 17 after being spotted by Keebra Park rugby league coach Greg Lenton while playing rugby union for his school Wellington College.
Kahu went on to captain the Keebra Park rugby league side to win the 2009 Arrive Alive Cup and it was clear from then on that he had something special.
He said a lack of opportunities in rugby union led to him making the move and taking a chance on rugby league.
"I felt that the opportunity for me in union just wasn't happening," he said.
"I felt like I deserved to be in a few teams that I missed selection in. I got sick of not making teams and not getting anywhere in rugby union.
"As you know in union, if you sit on the bench you pretty much don't play. I was sitting on a bench for a while for Wellington College and I was just over it.
"I felt like I needed a change and I've been pretty lucky to come to Australia and start my career here."
Kahu moved to Australia before the Origin eligibility rules changed at the end of the 2012 season.
The changes were made to prevent those that have not lived in either Queensland or New South Wales before their 13th birthday from taking part in the contest.
It meant that the two season-ending knee injuries Kahu suffered in 2011 and 2012 ultimately took away his chance of representing Queensland at either under-20s or senior State of Origin level.
If Kahu had played for Queensland in the under-20s it would have meant he would still be eligible for Queensland today.
None of this matters to Kahu though, with the Broncos backline utility happy to be playing first grade and earning the chance to represent the New Zealand.
"I haven't been in Australia for too long. It's my third year in first grade so I haven't had too much time to think about it really," he said.
"I've always just been focused on making first grade, not the rep stuff.
"I was extremely lucky to play for the Kiwis last year and again this year.
"I didn't really have time to think about whom I would represent, it kind of just all happened at once."