A nervous Duncan Paia’aua captains the under-16 Queensland team in their interstate match against New South Wales at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
A nervous Duncan Paia’aua captains the under-16 Queensland team in their interstate match against New South Wales at Suncorp Stadium tonight. Sharyn Oneill

Nervous energy a booster

DUNCAN Paia'aua is prepared to harness the nervous energy inside and follow in Darren Lockyer's footsteps in leading Queensland into battle against New South Wales tonight.

The Emmaus College student captains Queensland tonight in their under-16 interstate match against New South Wales as the lead-up match to Game One of the 2011 State of Origin series.

The Queensland halfback and his state team-mates wrapped up their side's preparations watching Lockyer guide Queensland around Suncorp Stadium in the Maroons final team run yesterday before tonight's State of Origin One blockbuster.

Paia'aua and Central Comets under-16 team-mates Harry Pondekas, Jack Anderson and Jarrod Earle join Central United winger Ryan Mitchell as Central Queensland's representatives in the Queensland under-16 side.

Paia'aua, whose nerves of steel guided the Central Comets to a Cyril Connell Cup grand final berth in 2011, admits he'll have his normal pre-game nerves, but they clearly haven't hampered his performances in the past.

“I'll be nervous for sure. I am every game though,” he said.

The Queensland halfback said he would focus his energy on organising and directing his side around the park and less about the crowd and the spectacle.

Paia'aua was hoping there wouldn't be too many people in the stands when he takes to the field at 6pm tonight.

“It's my first Origin experience (as a player or fan), but it should be good,” he said.

“Hopefully there's not too many people there when we play.”

It's wishful thinking for Paia'aua with a full house expected for the final minutes of the under-16 interstate match in the build-up to Origin One.

Paia'aua is one of eight Central Queenslanders on display on tonight's Origin card with North Queensland Cowboys front rower, and Ilfracombe junior Matt Scott spearheading Queensland's 2011 State of Origin campaign and their pursuit of a sixth straight Origin series win.

Scott and the under-16 quartet are joined on the State of Origin program by Queensland women's rugby league stars Kaitlin Moss and Tegan Sullivan.



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