Jarome Luai rescued from water after bizarre mishap during NSW State of Origin camp

Lifeguards had to haul Luai out of the water after a dare from teammates backfired.

NSW playmaker Jarome Luai joked that he "almost died" after having to be rescued from the water by a lifeguard during a surf session at Blues camp on Tuesday. Michael Maguire's NSW squad decided to mix things up on the second day of camp before the State of Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium on July 17, by taking part in a recovery session at the UrbnSurf wave pool in Sydney's Olympic Park.

Things took an unfortunate turn for Luai though after he raced in with surfboard in hand to try and tackle the waves by himself. The Panthers five-eighth admitted he's not really used to waves or beaches after growing up in Penrith, but said he took on a dare from teammates to be the first man into the water during the surf session.

Seen here, Jarome Luai trying to surf during a Blues recovery session before the State of Origin decider.
Jarome Luai was involved in a bizarre surfing mishap during a Blues recovery session before the State of Origin decider against Queensland. Pic: Getty

Luai was clearly floundering after being dragged out into deeper water, before being thrown a floatation device from one of the lifeguards on duty. The mishap brought back memories of an infamous incident during Blues camp in 1999, when Robbie Kearns fell off a horse and dislocating his shoulder in a team-bonding exercise.

Fortunately no damage was done except for that to Luai's ego. "My life flashed before my eyes out there," the Blues No.6 joked afterwards. "I almost died out there, so grateful to be alive. There's no beaches at Penrith, so we don't get much practice out there. I thought I would try my luck, but it didn't go well. I attacked it, a bit of a dare from the boys. It was a good laugh. Thanks to the lifeguard out there, he had to drive me back in."

Luai spent the next 15 minutes after his mishap watching Blues teammates learn how to surf, before returning to the water with a bodyguard to have another crack at the waves. "I wasn't actually worried, just embarrassed more," Luai admitted about his surfing misadventure. "I can swim, I can float. I guess that is enough."


Blues utility Connor Watson is an avid surfer and was unsurprisingly the best on the board, while Zac Lomax, Matt Burton and Cameron Murray reportedly also showed promise. The Blues have promised to take a leaf out of Luai's book by diving head-first into the Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday week, as they look try and stop the Maroons from winning a third straight series.

The NSW side has the chance to create history by becoming just the third Blues team win win an Origin decider in Queensland since the interstate series began in 1980. And Luai will be key to the Blues hopes after impressing in the playmaking role in Games 1 and 2. Watson says NSW need to channel the fearless approach the Blues No.6 showed in the water on Tuesday when they enter Queensland's cauldron at Suncorp Stadium for Game 3.

Seen here, Jarome Luai playing for the Blues in the State of Origin series.
Jarome Luai was excellent for the Blues in Games 1 and 2 of the State of Origin series. Pic: Getty

"I'm glad he survived ... I love where his head is at (with that fearless approach)," Watson said about Luai. "He's massive for us. He's been doing such a great job for Penrith, really stepping up in that role. He's doing that for this team as well. His leadership and his energy he brings to games, training and the intensity ... it is pretty cool to see. We saw what he did in game two, I'm looking forward to running back out there with him."

with AAP