Fotuaika joins Maroons' forward young guns

Ed Jackson
·2-min read

Queensland great Petero Civoniceva declared Moeaki Fotuaika is "built for Origin" as the youngster prepares for his Maroons debut.

Fotuaika will make his first appearance, off the bench, in Wednesday's State of Origin game two at ANZ Stadium, as the Maroons aim to wrap up the series after their win in Adelaide last week.

Civoniceva played a key role in convincing the New Zealand-born Fotuaika to commit to Queensland ahead of the Kiwis earlier this year.

The ex-Maroons' prop is confident Fotuaika has all the tools to forge a long career in Origin after becoming a regular starter at Gold Coast in the NRL despite his tender years.

"He's shown over the last few years especially that he's a high-quality front-rower," Civoniceva told AAP.

"Despite being young in age, he's just been a tremendous leader for the club in some really tough times.

"To be able to do that says a lot about him, not just as a footballer, but as a person as well.

"He'll certainly be at home at this level because we see it week-in, week-out in his performances, he's tough and he's unrelenting and doesn't take a backward step.

"He's built for Origin."

Fotuaika doesn't turn 21 until next week and joins a pack that already featured game one debutants Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (20), Jaydn Su'A (23) and Lindsay Collins (24).

Add injured Brisbane enforcer David Fifita (20) and Civoniceva is understandably bullish about the future of Queensland's forward stocks.

"It is an exciting time," the 33-time Origin representative said.

"As unfortunate as it was that players were out injured and some players that have been part of the scene for quite some time weren't selected, it's great for the selectors to have faith and to give these opportunities to this young group of players is, I think, fantastic.

"What it does is it just shows you we do have that next good crop of young Queensland Maroons on the rise and I think what it will do for those that have missed out is actually provide some competition for spots.

"Going on game one, those guys are more than capable of playing at this level and that's going to mean for all Queensland players, they're going to have to fight for their positions."