Lui's rise to Origin a road less travelled

Ed Jackson
·2-min read

When Dunamis Lui arrived at Canberra in 2017 he was a journeyman NRL forward preparing for life at a fourth club.

Fast forward three years and Lui, a member of the Raiders 2019 grand final team, will become a Queensland State of Origin player on Wednesday.

It's a remarkable career turnaround for the 30-year-old, who has found a footballing home at the Raiders after failing to secure a regular first team spot at Brisbane, St George Illawarra and Manly.

Maroons captain Daly Cherry-Evans was a teammate of Lui's during his two seasons at Brookvale Oval, where the forward made 38 appearances, mainly off the bench or at lock.

Cherry-Evans said it was great to see how Lui had made every post a winner since his move to Canberra, where he's become one of the NRL's leading front-row forwards.

"It's fantastic, isn't it? Just the perseverance, and I guess that's the best word for it, the perseverance of Dunamis to stick through it," Cherry-Evans said.

"He's obviously found what he's good at after 150 games. You don't just sort of fluke that amount of games.

"Dunamis knows what he's good at. He's come a long way since me and him were teammates back at Manly, probably best part of six years ago.

"It's great to see him work so hard and achieve a childhood dream and we're hoping to make those debutants make sure they have a special game this week."

Lui has been handed his Origin chance with Maroons medical staff taking a cautious approach with Christian Welch for Game II at ANZ Stadium after the Melbourne premiership-winning prop suffered a head knock late in last week's series opener.

He'll take to the field against NSW alongside Canberra teammate Josh Papalii, an understanding Cherry-Evans is confident will help ease any nerves Lui might feel.

"I guess it'd just be like a half running out with your club halves partner," he said.

"It would help. They'd have a pretty good idea of what works for both of them when they're on the field.

"I think that definitely helps that he's got Papa next to him but again, it's not about Papa leading the way there.

"I've seen plenty games this year where Dunamis has led from the front so I'll be making sure I encourage him to make sure he plays his own game.

"He doesn't have to be in anyone's shadow."