Knights junior Bradman Best dreams of returning to the Origin cauldron for NSW one day after scoring a last-minute, length-of-the-field, match-winner at Suncorp Stadium.
The baby Blues centre was “still buzzing” after crossing for the most important try of his short career on Wednesday and the 15-year-old doesn’t want it to be his last against Queensland.
“That’s the dream [to play Origin],” Best told the Newcastle Herald on Thursday.
“It’s what I want to do and I got a good taste in front of a fair few people. It was a pretty good experience.”
The Blues defeated the Maroons 22-16 to claim the under-16 interstate challenge and the winning movement started deep inside NSW’s in-goal area after Queensland missed a long-range field goal.
Blues fullback Albert Hopoate collected the bouncing ball, beat a few defenders and then sent Best on a 70 metre sprint down the sideline to break the deadlock in the dying stages.
“When Hopa got that ball from the in-goal and I swooped around I just hoped he was giving it to me,” Best said.
“When I got the ball I was just thinking about getting to the try line as quick as I could. It felt one million miles away, but it was the best moment. All the boys came in and it was so good.
“I’m still on a high. I’m still buzzing.”
Best’s representative and club teammate Jaron Purcell was named man-of-the-match before taking his place as NSW captain and holding the silverware aloft.
Best and Purcell were joined on the podium by fellow Knights pair – Blues winger Cooper Jenkins, who opened the visitors account during the first half, and NSW utility Harry Croker.
The quartet helped Newcastle win the Harold Matthews Cup in May.
On that occasion Purcell provided the heroics with a try in extra-time, which capped off a late grand final comeback from the Knights.
Wednesday’s result for NSW completed a clean sweep of the 2017 junior origin series with the Blues having already recorded triumphs in the under-18 and under-20 fixtures, which included Knights’ reserve grade fullback Nick Meaney.
Since 2013 the Blues have lost only one of five under-16 encounters against Queensland.
This year NSW trailed 12-4 at half-time but after the break scored twice in a row to lead by four before the Maroons equalised with just minutes remaining.
Knights legend Danny Buderus was the main assistant to coach Brad Fittler.