Storm enforcer Felise Kaufusi has shown big-game ability. (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Storm enforcer Felise Kaufusi has shown big-game ability. (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Kangaroo Kaufusi is Origin ready

QUEENSLAND bolter Felise Kaufusi believes his World Cup stint with Australia has better prepared him for a possible Origin debut.

The Melbourne enforcer has emerged as a frontrunner to replace an injured Matt Gillett (fractured neck) in the Maroons line-up for Game One at the MCG.

The expected call-up has been a long time coming for Kaufusi, who has been 18th man in 2016 and 2017 for the Queensland side.

He also made his Australian debut before his state, after last year playing two games for the Kangaroos in their World Cup campaign.

And it is this experience that Kaufusi believes has helped improve his form this season and will also give him a boost if he is chosen to wear the Maroons jersey this year.

Kaufusi didn’t expect to make the Kangaroos cut. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)
Kaufusi didn’t expect to make the Kangaroos cut. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

"It was a big shock getting the call-up," Kaufusi said of his Australian debut.

"It was a big step up having not played Origin but to play for the Kangaroos, it was pretty special.

"I definitely take a lot of confidence out of last year. Getting that call-up for Australia has given me a bit of confidence and hopefully I can keep working on that.

"(Origin) has always been a dream of mine growing up in Queensland and watching the Maroons. After playing for Australia, it's more of a goal that I can strive for."

Kaufusi said while he is not trying to look too far ahead for this season, he had been aware of the number of injuries the Maroons had suffered to their incumbent forward pack, including Gillett, Josh McGuire (ankle) and his Melbourne teammate Tim Glasby (thumb).

He said while it's been hard to watch, he knew it meant he had to maintain consistency.

The Storm enforcer has shown big-game ability. (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
The Storm enforcer has shown big-game ability. (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

"You don't want to see people go down but it's a part of rugby league and it's what we have to deal with," he said.

"I'm just trying to focus on my role and our game. Hopefully that might be enough. I don't want to look too far into the future."

Kaufusi's next chance to push for his Origin debut will come on Saturday in the Suncorp Stadium double-header, when the Storm host the Titans.

The young backrower will come up against former mentor and teammate Kevin Proctor and said he is expecting a big showdown after the Gold Coast upset Melbourne in last year's double-header.

"It's going to be a tough game and always one we look forward to," he said

"(Proctor) is one of the premier back rowers in the game and he really took me under his wing while he was here."



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