State of Origin rookie's stunning purchase with first pay cheque

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Blues rookie Brian To'o spent his first State of Origin paycheque on a house deposit for his parents. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)
Blues rookie Brian To'o spent his first State of Origin paycheque on a house deposit for his parents. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The NSW Blues have been enjoying then momentum granted by their 50-6 drubbing of Queensland in the State of Origin opener, but none more so than Brian To'o.

The 22-year-old winger, who burst onto the NRL scene with Penrith in 2019 out of relative obscurity, put his first ever paycheque from the Blues to good use.

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To'o put the first $45,000 payment for his State of Origin services towards a house deposit for his parents.

The religious footballer previously spent $10,000 on a headstone for his late sister, who passed away in 2018 after a battle with cancer.

The early years of his career have shown that family is clearly a priority for To'o, who was working in a factory prior to signing his first contract with the Panthers. 

To'o has scored 23 tries in 43 games for the Panthers, marking a stunning rise from the ranks of rugby league obscurity.

Sam Ayoub, the Penrith star's manager, confirmed his parents would be benefiting from the money.

“We are going to see the finance guys next week,’ Ayoub said.

“He will put that money toward getting a loan to buy his family a new home.”

To'o defied speculation he might not earn a spot on the team due to his relatively short stature at 181cm, but the Blues' game one performance was enough for the likes of former player Michael Ennis to admit their mistake.

“It’s one thing in this industry that from time to time, you’ve got to admit you get things wrong and I got it wrong,” Ennis said on Fox League.

“I didn’t think they would pick Brian To’o, as good as he was going for Penrith, on the sheer fact I didn’t know if he would be able to handle opposing Xavier Coates. Tonight he completely proved me wrong.”

Penrith make call on State of Origin stars

Penrith will rest the majority of their State of Origin stars with only Liam Martin a chance to back-up and play two days after the series opener.

The Panthers confirmed that Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai, Isaah Yeo, Brian To'o and Kurt Capewell would miss Friday night's clash with Cronulla, as the club opted to take the long game on their stars' fitness.

But Api Koroisau, the 18th man for NSW, will return to the all-conquering Panthers line-up.

Nathan Cleary's fitness was arguably the easiest call for the Panthers, with the halfback nursing five stitches in his face following friendly fire from Tom Trbojevic.

Scans have since confirmed there is no bone damage for Cleary, and despite nursing a black eye he is expected to be fit to face Sydney Roosters next week.

Nathan Cleary played for more than 30 minutes without being sent off in the State of Origin opener, despite bleeding visibly from a cut on his cheek for some time. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Nathan Cleary played for more than 30 minutes without being sent off in the State of Origin opener, despite bleeding visibly from a cut on his cheek for some time. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

"It's obviously swollen and swelling up this morning but it feels fine," Cleary said on Thursday morning.

Penrith backrower Capewell had earlier told coach Ivan Cleary he was desperate to face his former club Cronulla as the only Panther to feel the pain of a loss on Wednesday night.

Yeo got through 80 minutes at lock in his first start in Origin, while second-rower Martin only played 30 minutes for NSW.

Winger Brian To'o was looking sore at Blues camp after totalling 225 metres and scoring two tries on Origin debut.

Koroisau meanwhile had a far lighter workload as he was not called upon as 18th man.

It means the Panthers will have Tyrone May and Matt Burton partner each other in the halves, while the rest of their backline is still virtually at full strength, with the exception of To'o.

With AAP

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