Newcastle Knights trio Bryce Donovan, Luke Yates and Bradie Smith returned from the weekend's Emerging Blues Origin Pathways Camp feeling inspired and motivated to bring what they learned about Origin culture back to the Club.
The camp, which was run by NSW Blues coach Laurie Daley, was all about preparing young players for an elite Origin pathway and focused largely on Origin philosophy.
“It was just a bit of an introduction into Origin, we went through a bit of skills on the paddock but mainly talks about the mentality of an Origin player and what you need to bring and what sort of mindset you have to have,” Smith told Knights TV.
“It was just a lot about being proud to be in the jumper and how tough you have to be and resilient and that you want to be there for your mates.
“It’s a lot of what we learn here but just on a more intense level.”
NSW Origin coach Laurie Daley, as well as Brad Fittler and current players Josh Reynolds and Robbie Farah attended the camp to inspire and instill a sense of what it takes to pull on the blue jersey.
“We did a session…where we wrote down what we want to be known as and how we want people to see us, and that’s as a tough team that’s competitive,” Donovan added.
In a somewhat intimidating environment that saw dozens of the league’s most promising players come together, the Knights trio relished the opportunity to experience the camp together.
“It was good to have the boys there because I didn’t know a lot of the players. I could relate to Bryce because he hadn’t been there before either,” Smith said.
For Yates, who has represented NSW in the under 16s and 18s, it was a return to the Emerging Blues program having been involved in previous year’s workshops.
For the promising Knights, being identified as emerging Origin players and attending the camp was considered an incredible privilege.
“I was actually pretty shocked at the start because I didn’t think I’d get noticed for it, but it’s good to know people are watching and you playing, so it was unreal to go down there,” Donovan said.
Smith added, “I didn’t expect it all. I was really proud and I’ll give it my best shot and will try and make it."
Donovan is now intent on showcasing his leadership skills at the Knights and bringing the best out in his teammates.
“I’ll bring back a lot of the mindset sort of stuff, that you’re happy to be there and you’re pushing your teammates and always being there for them,” he said.