Turpin relishes Qld rep duties on Origin stage
LIKE his senior counterparts at ANZ Stadium, Jake Turpin was unable to repel the enemy in blue.
But the Ipswich junior earned the man-of-the-match award in the Queensland under-18's 24-10 loss to NSW in the Origin curtainraiser.
Playing hooker, the Melbourne Storm under-20 halfback laid on the first try to give Queensland the lead, then fought courageously against the tide as the game slipped from Queensland's grasp.
"We did it to ourselves," the 17-year-old former Brothers junior said. "We made too many stupid errors and they took their opportunities."
An inside ball from Turpin created the opening try for prop Lindsay Collins. But almost immediately, Queensland dropped the ball near their own line and the advantage was given up.
Despite the pain of defeat, Turpin felt privileged to have had the chance to play on such a stage for his state.
"I'm pretty sore," he said yesterday, having returned to Melbourne.
"It was a really physical game.
"It was probably one of the quickest and hardest I've played.
"There were about 30,000 people there. They gave it to us."
Turpin (pictured playing on Wednesday night) knows the game will hold him in good stead in future.
He excelled despite being well out of his comfort zone.
"It was my first time at hooker and it was that quick," he said.
"I was one of the first games I've been struggling with my fitness. But that's what it's about in such big games. When you're out on your feet, you've got to keep going."
Turpin's award-winning effort would surely indicate his long-term future is at rake.
"I really enjoyed it," he said. "A few people have said I suit the position."
Turpin remains unsigned for next season but it is hard to see that lasting for long.