Brimson emerges as Origin super sub

Gold Coast young gun AJ Brimson has emerged as Queensland's next Origin super sub.

Brimson will attend Queensland's Emerging Origin camp next month as Maroons coach Kevin Walters plots to break a two-year losing streak to NSW.

The Maroons' depth has been tested over the past two years following the representative retirements of Origin legends Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Greg Inglis.

Walters invited Brimson into Queensland's camp for last year's decider to give the Gold Coast dynamo a taste of an Origin build-up.

The Maroons used Moses Mbye and Michael Morgan in the bench utility role last year, but they are both in the mix for a centre berth this season with the Maroons lacking outside backs.

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Brimson‘s versatility could be great for Queensland. Photo: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Brimson‘s versatility could be great for Queensland. Photo: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Walters is on the hunt for fresh talent and Brimson is one of the state's rising stars, with the ability to play a range of backline positions.

The 21-year-old will be given first crack at the Gold Coast's fullback duties this season and said he wanted to maintain his utility value in case an Origin call-up arrives.

"It was crazy being around a lot of good players, ones that I look up to and watched my whole childhood," Brimson said of Queensland camp.

"Sometimes I think I'm not that far away from playing Origin, but then I think I am pretty far off it. It's a hard one.

"It doesn't matter if I'm playing halves or fullback, if I played No.14 (utility) it would be a similar role anyway. I'm open to playing that 14 role.

"Kevvie told me to back myself and keep running the footy. I had to be confident. We've got the camp coming up in February, so he'll have a bit more to say there."

 

The Titans will start Brimson as their No.1 this season. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
The Titans will start Brimson as their No.1 this season. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

 

 

Brimson has floated between the halves, fullback and bench during his 36-game NRL career over the past two seasons.

He will step into the Titans' No.1 jersey vacated by the retired Michael Gordon, however Gordon will make a brief return when he features in next month's Nines tournament in Perth.

Brimson said he was relishing being able to focus on fullback under new coach Justin Holbrook.

"He's given me the role and told me early on he wants me to play fullback," Brimson said.

"For him to say 'I'm giving you a crack at fullback at the start of pre-season so make it your own' is confidence-boosting for me.

"Last year I didn't know whether to catch bombs at the end of a training session or kick for the fullback. I can really focus and put all my concentration on that.

"It's up to me to knuckle down, work hard, make it my own and play consistent footy there."

 

Kevin Walters may need something different to shake up NSW. Photo: AAP Image/David Mariuz
Kevin Walters may need something different to shake up NSW. Photo: AAP Image/David Mariuz

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Gordon has remained at the Titans as an assistant coach and is working closely with Brimson on the nuances of being at the back.

And he is tipping big things from Brimson in his third season in the NRL.

"I've told a few people I've got some predictions for AJ this year, but I'll keep them in-house," Gordon said.

"He's a great player and great kid. He's going to have a long career ahead of him. There's no doubt he can make fullback his own for a long time.

"Last year he was coming off a shoulder reco and not training until after Christmas. This year he hasn't missed a session, he's killing it in the gym and on the field.

"He's got a great attitude and is a great kid, so I'm really excited about it."



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