Former Group Nine junior Jack de Belin has tasted success at Origin level and he’s hungry for more.
The Cootamundra product made 27 tackles and six carries for 59 metres on debut for the NSW Blues in their 22-12 win over Queensland at the MCG in Origin I.
It comes as no surprise that he’s still savouring the moment.
“The atmosphere was just crazy out there ... the ‘G is such a big stadium,” de Belin told the Cootamundra Herald on Thursday morning.
“We had our captain’s run there the day before and it just felt like any other ground.
“It’s a bit different when it filled with 90,000 people.”
The St George Illawarra Dragons forward played 47 minutes in his Origin debut and says he recalls every moment out on the hallowed turf.
“There was no blur for me – I remembered all of it,” de Belin said.
I was really proud to represent Cootamundra at Origin level because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the BulldogsFormer Cootamundra Bulldogs junior and current NSW forward Jack de Belin
“Looking back on what happened afterwards is a bit blurry but I was definitely in the moment during the game.”
Cootamundra residents packed out pubs across town to watch their hometown hero while de Belin’s family and friends were among those in the stands on Wednesday night to watch the biggest game of his career.
“They came down to watch and it was awesome to see a lot of people I’ve grown up with supporting me in Melbourne,” he said.
“I was really proud to represent Cootamundra at Origin level because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Bulldogs.”
The 27-year-old earlier revealed he had been taking weekly pain-killing jabs to stay on the park for the Dragons but told the Cootamundra Herald he pulled up well from the game and will back up for his club against Canterbury-Bankstown on Monday night.
“I’m feeling pretty good and I’ve got my priorities for St George, so I’ll definitely play,” he said.
However, de Belin will be hard pressed to push Origin from his mind.
“I’ve got a taste for Origin now and I don’t want to be going anywhere (from the NSW squad).
“We got the win last night and now we’re heading back home (to Sydney) for the second game.
“Hopefully we can knock them (Queensland) over and close the series out there – that would be incredible.”