Jake Trbojevic used to run around wearing a NSW Origin jersey as a youngster with ‘Johns, 7’ on the back.
Next Wednesday night, May 31, the Manly Sea Eagles vice-captain and lock will be wearing a NSW jersey with the name ‘Trbojevic, 16' on it after being named in the Blues team to make his Origin debut in Game one of the 2017 series at Suncorp Stadium.
The 23-year-old’s selection comes on the back of his outstanding form for the Sea Eagles and his brilliant performance for Australia in the Test match win over New Zealand on May 5 in just his second game for his country.
With that achieved, Origin was next on the list for the Mona Vale Raiders junior. And just like Johns did, a chance to earn his own Blues jersey.
“I used to love that number 7 jersey. I had it for a few years. Everyone loved Andrew Johns. I was no different,’’ Trbojevic said.
“Danny Buderus was another favourite player.”
It will be a special night for the Trbojevic clan, one of the most beautiful and respected families involved in rugby league today.
“I used to watch Origin with my parents, grandparents, and my three brothers. We would all get pumped up for the game and be cheering loudly for the Blues,’’ Trbojevic said.
“They were always fun nights.
“I was at my Nan’s house when I got told I was in the NSW team. She was very excited. Nan has always loved her footy.
“I then rang and told my brothers, and my parents. They were all very proud for me.”
Proud Mum, Melissa, recalls the ‘Johns, 7’ jersey, and the excitement of Origin nights.
“Jake loved that jersey. He was a huge fan of Andrew Johns,’’ Melissa said.
“Origin was always a big thing for the boys when they were growing up. But Jake was probably the main one out of his brothers.
“He used to cut out pictures of the NSW players and put them on our glass doors for the games. He just loved Origin and hated seeing the Blues get beaten.
“My dad is a proud NSW man, but he used to stir the boys up on Origin nights by wearing a Queensland shirt. It was Pa’s little joke with them but silently, he was cheering for the Blues.
“All of the family are very happy for Jake. He has played for Australia and now he gets his chance to play in Origin. This is a really big thing for the family. We can’t wait to get to Suncorp and watch him play.”
Although excited about his call up into the NSW team, Trbojevic felt for his brother, Tom, who before suffering an ankle injury against Brisbane, was tipped by many to also make his Blues debut.
“Tom was very happy for me when we spoke. It is sad that he didn’t get a chance (to be selected) but that’s the way it goes. Injuries are a part of the game,’’ Jake said.
“He only is young, so he has plenty of time still. His day will definitely come.”
Melissa echoed Jake’s thoughts.
“If Tom had made the team, and Jake didn’t, Jake would have been very excited for him,’’ Melissa added.
“Tom was so excited when he rang us about Jake making the team. They are very close.
“As a proud parent, it would have been brilliant had they made their debuts together for NSW, but it wasn’t to be. Hopefully their time together for the Blues will come.”