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Three years ago, Stephen Crichton, Matt Burton and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui starred in the 2019 Under 20’s State of Origin clash.

The year before that it was Harry Grant, Patrick Carrigan and Brian To'o.

On Sunday, they will line up to represent their state for Game Two of the Ampol State of Origin – living proof of the success and importance that the Origin pathways has in bringing players through to the elite level.

That pathway will be on show again on Thursday night as the next generation of rugby league stars will battle it out in the U/19's State of Origin clash at Leichhardt Oval.

New South Wales Coach and former Blues forward Andrew Ryan said "looking back at the success of past players shows the importance of the game”.

“You look through the last few years, guys like Stephen Crichton and Matt Burton have been in that team and developed through to the senior team,” Ryan told NRL.com.

“So straight away that’s proof of success.

"For us, it’s a genuine opportunity for these boys to understand that they’re in this pathway now and there’s a chance they could play senior Origin too.

“Freddy (Fittler) gave them a message the other night to communicate that to the boys and I think it really sunk in.”

Burton's Blues belter

After the last two years were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan said he is excited his side once again has the opportunity to showcase their talent on the big-stage and learn what it means to play for their state.

“It’s so good that we can give these players the opportunity again to have a platform to play live on TV and hopefully in front of a good crowd as well,” he said.

“These guys are professionals and skilful so it’s not about teaching them on the field, it’s about playing for each other and representing that jersey and the state.”

Looking back: Pathway to Origin

New South Wales

  • Junior Paulo — U/20's (2013)
  • Cameron Murray — U/18's (2016), U/20's (2017)
  • Payne Haas — U/18's (2016-17)
  • Jake Trbojevic — U/18's (2011-12), U/20's (2013-14)
  • Brian To'o — U/20's (2018)
  • Stephen Crichton — U/20's (2019)
  • Matt Burton — U/20's (2019)

Queensland

  • Ben Hunt — U/18's (2008)
  • Dane Gagai — U/18's (2009)
  • Josh Papalii — U/18's (2010)
  • Valentine Holmes — U/18's (2013), U/20's (2014)
  • Patrick Carrigan — U/18's (2016), U/20's (2017-18)
  • Harry Grant — U/20's (2017-18)
  • Tino Fa'asuamaleaui — U/20's (2018-19)
  • Tom Dearden — U/18's (2018)
  • Selwyn Cobbo — U/18's (2020, game cancelled)
  • Jeremiah Nanai — U/18's (2020, game cancelled)
Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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