Wallace out to prove Origin worth on home turf
Maroons forward Jarrod Wallace had a point to prove to himself in club football after two underwhelming performances in the opening two games of this year’s State of Origin series for Queensland.
His position in the side had come into question after both his starting displays but Wallace was determined to put in big efforts for the Titans after both of his Maroons matches as a matter of pride.
In game one he played 35 minutes for Queensland and made 53 metres from five runs. In game two the Titans prop spent just 28 minutes on the park for a return of four runs and 43m.
Wallace, who will come off the bench in game three of the Holden State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday, knew those statistics didn't reflect the player he is and was determined to prove it with actions.
He did that against South Sydney and the Wests Tigers in powerhouse performances which convinced selectors to stick with him.
"I had nothing to prove to anyone else, but I had something to prove to myself," Wallace told NRL.com.
"I wanted to go back to my club and play big minutes because knew I was capable of playing like that even though I wasn't getting the minutes here [for Queensland].
"After game one I played big minutes. It was 73 minutes against Souths and [49 minutes] against the Tigers after game two.
"I pride myself on being a player that can play well for my club through Origin and put in big efforts.
- Oates admits being overlooked for Origin affected club form
- DCE to assert himself as dominant Maroons half
"It is hard. It is a draining week but I never want to let the Titans down no matter how my body is feeling."
Wallace knows he needs a big performance off the bench to retain his Maroons jersey into the future with the injured Dylan Napa and Broncos prop Joe Ofahengaue just two front-rowers sure to be in the frame for next year's series.
He lacks no motivation with the spectre of a series whitewash on the horizon for the Maroons if they fail to fire on Wednesday night.
"It was disappointing to lose and not get it to a decider in game three but it is not done for us Queensland boys," Wallace said.
"We want to put in a good effort and get a bit of momentum going into next year's series.
"There are so many guys that I reckon can do a good job so there is always pressure to perform.
"It is a big thing for us to do it for ourselves. A whitewash is never good. That is not what we want."
Wallace has played all four of his Origin games for Queensland as a starting prop but said he understood why coach Kevin Walters had made the change.
"I only played limited minutes in game two but Kalyn Ponga was killing it, as was Jai [Arrow]," he said.
"Papa [Josh Papalii] was killing it too, but I thought I did enough to stay in the team.
"It is a different role [off the bench] but I am just glad to be here still. Any opportunity I can get on the bench or starting in the Maroons jersey is a good thing for me. I don't care where I am so long as I am in that 17."
Wallace said he was certain Titans teammate Arrow was up to the challenge of starting in the Origin cauldron.
"It is a big job but he'll handle it. He's been starting at the Titans all year and doing a good job," he said.
"I reckon he'll be ready to go and coming off the back fence from the kick-off. He won't let anyone down."
Origin at Suncorp, there's nothing like it! Game III tickets available here