Jarome Luai in big Origin declaration after ugly Blues backlash from NRL fans

The Panthers playmaker copped plenty of criticism after last year's performance.

Jarome Luai has declared he has unfinished business in the Origin arena having been dropped for Game III last year for Cody Walker, after opening up about the brutal criticism his family copped. Luai didn't enjoy the best series last year for the Blues having hit out at his critics after Game II, which ended up being his last game when Brad Fittler opted to go for Rabbitohs five-eighth Walker instead.

Nathan Cleary and Luai's club combination was favoured when Fittler held the reins as Blues coach, but two series losses in a row has many Blues fans calling for change. Luai has been in good form this year having played most of his games without Cleary due to the halfback's hamstring injury.

Jarome Luai (pictured) is keen to play Origin again after a brutal last game, which prompted brutal online abuse for his his family. (Images: Instagram/Getty Images)
Jarome Luai (pictured) is keen to play Origin again after a brutal last game, which prompted brutal online abuse for his his family. (Images: Instagram/Getty Images)

Despite this, Luai appears to be lower down on the list of favoured halves to partner Cleary. Nicho Hynes appears to be the frontrunner with Matt Burton also pushing his claim for the No.6 jersey. Cody Walker endured a nightmare start to the season with the Rabbitohs and appears unlikely to retain his position. And Luai wants to earn one more chance at making a name for himself in the Origin arena.

"I didn't leave the jersey the way I wanted to," Luai said. "Especially after a loss, it hurts you a bit. You want to make amends for that.

"If I'm in that jersey, preparing, then that'll be a motivation for me to fix how I left the jersey. I'm not there yet. But once I'm in the jersey and once I'm in the side preparing for that week, then that's when I'll draw upon all those experiences."

Luai's last moments for the Blues saw him and Reece Walsh clash as New South Wales went down and lost the series. And Luai copped horrible online abuse in the fallout. And the Panthers playmaker has admitted the criticism is tough to take.

"It was pretty tough," Luai said. "There was a lot of criticism around Origin and performing. That's the pressure of Origin, that's the arena.

"Rugby league is a roller coaster, regardless. People think you're going so well. But it can always get better. That humbles me and always keeps me grounded. I know that jersey will pick the man, the man who is good enough to wear it. That's how it should be. I'm just worried about playing my best in my No.6 jersey here. You need to earn that jersey. But I'm building, we're winning games here. And that's all I'm focusing on at the moment."

Jarome Luai reacts during a NRL match.
Jarome Luai (pictured) has called for one more shot in Origin.

Earlier this year, speaking on a new series on Nine Now, called 'Undisputed', the 27-year-old opened up on the abuse he copped on social media. One such moment that prompted a swift response from NRL fans was his post after the Blues lost Game II of Origin. “Chill. All you idiots have work tomorrow morning,” Luai posted at around 4am alongside an image of himself and a number of crying with laughter emojis.


The post caused plenty of backlash. However, Luai has revealed the ugly racism directed towards him and his family after the post. Speaking on the documentary, Luai admitted he doesn't regret the post and said it was aimed at those taking aim at him. “All the messages are bad: racism, it’s everything you can think of. I’m just glad it’s me. It could be one of the young boys here at the club who might not have the same resilience or strength," he on the documentary.

“They [family] were the ones always telling me how angry they were about [the abuse]. I try to educate them that I can use it as motivation as well. I don’t want the emotions of rugby league to come back and affect my family – I want to make sure they never see me frustrated; it’s about leaving footy outside.”