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Broncos forward Joe Ofahengaue in Maroons camp in 2018.

Maroons legend Sam Thaiday insists the next port of call in Joe Ofahengaue's career will be a Queensland debut so long as he can lead the Brisbane Broncos pack with distinction in the opening two months of the NRL.

Ofahengaue has let coach Kevin Walters know he is definitely available for Queensland this year after previously starring for Tonga. The 24-year-old was on the cusp of making his Maroons debut in Game Three of last year's Holden State of Origin series but was ruled out of contention with injury.

Thaiday, who will joining Queensland's coaching staff this year after playing 29 Origin games for the Maroons, spoke to on a giant ship to mark a new partnership between the QRL and P&O Cruises Australia where P&O will be major partner of the Maroon Membership program.

Thaiday wasn't going overboard when he said Ofahengaue was "ready" to take the next step in his career.

"I think Joe Ofahengaue has a fantastic opportunity at the Brisbane Broncos first and foremost to lead the forward pack with Matt Lodge, and if he does a great job there it is going to be hard for Kevvie to overlook him," Thaiday told

Broncos forward Joe Ofahengaue.
Broncos forward Joe Ofahengaue. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"Joe's first season in the NRL was 2015. We make it to a grand final and unfortunately don't win it, but that was a great experience for him. He had an up and down 2016 but in the last two seasons he has come along leaps and bounds and if he gets the opportunity I know he will cherish it and be a standout front-rower for the Queensland team."

Cowboys veteran Matt Scott has also told he wants his Maroons jersey back after recovering from neck surgery and Walters would love nothing more than to see him earn it. Thaiday said the ship had not sailed on Scott's representative career and pointed to the leadership up front that he would provide Queensland.

"I know that having a bit of time off would have freshened his body up a little bit. It is more of a confidence thing for him and if he starts the season off in great form it will be hard not to pick him," Thaiday said.

"An area where we weren't 100 per cent last year was leadership within that forward pack. We had some great players but an old head in there like Matt Scott may help steer that ship and get the go-forward battle going early.

"I agree 100 per cent with Kevvie, and that goes for any player that starts the season off fantastic. I'd love to see Darius Boyd come back. That will be his call but if either of those boys show great form it would be silly not to have the conversation with them.

Matt Scott is coming towards the end of a glittering career.
Matt Scott is coming towards the end of a glittering career.

"They helped build a successful Queensland culture over many years. We want to continue that and I am sure Kevvie wants to get back in the winners' circle."

While nothing is cruisy about State of Origin, Thaiday was having a whale of a time on a giant ship docked in Brisbane in his role as a P&O ambassador.

"It is fantastic to be part of it and I think it is a great opportunity for people who sign up as Maroons members," Thaiday said.

"I was very lucky to get the run of the ship this morning, check out some penthouses and go on the zip line in my budgie smugglers and pink helmet."

Former Broncos star Sam Thaiday.
Former Broncos star Sam Thaiday. ©
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