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Meet Oryn: Local talent set for U19 State of Origin debut

Remember the name Knights members and supporters of local talent, Oryn Keeley.

The 19-year-old has earned a call-up to the Under 19's NSW side for tonight's State of Origin clash against the Queensland Maroons at Leichhardt Oval.

After an incredible comeback and stellar season in the SG Ball Cup competition, the forward will line-up in the second-row for the Blues.

The Northern Lakes junior will run-out alongside Newcastle teammate, Max Bradbury, for NSW and will come up against one of his best mates and Knights teammate, Paul Bryan, and fellow Knight, Edward Hampson.

Talking about his selection, the young forward was over the moon with his chance to represent at state level.

U19's State of Origin

"I'm super excited,” Keeley said.

“When I got the call, I went kind of numb, I didn’t really believe it.

“I wont believe it until I am there.

“All the hard work I have put in to get myself back and right to be picked has paid off."

Keeley has overcome plenty of adversity in his formative years to now stand in the elite mix of junior footballers in the country.

Two significant injuries plus the disruptions on pathways football due to COVID-19 has meant little to no games for Oryn over the past couple of years.

The inspiring leader of the SG Ball side showcased traits of resilience and fortitude to make it back playing the game he loved.

At one stage, he questioned whether he would even be able to play at all.

“About two and a half years ago, I fractured my neck and I didn’t think I would actually ever play again,” Keeley said.

“I got told I could, then got back on track, and lost a lot of weight to get back.

“I did a (NSW) Cup pre-season a year and a bit ago, and then had osteochondritis in my knee. I had to have surgery and that meant I was out for another year.

“I came back this pre-season with the SG Ball team and my goal was to play one trial and I did that.

“Then I got to play Round 1, and I’ve played every game since."

Having come through some trying circumstances at such a young age, Keeley has already accomplished a whole heap during his time in the game.

Oryn begun playing with the Knights at 15 and won a Harold Matthews Cup competition in 2019, scoring a try in the Grand Final.

The talented second-rower has also captained NSW at Under 16's level.

A natural leader, Keeley was honoured by his coaches and teammates with the Elijah Faalua award for leadership at the Junior Representative awards night earlier this year.

His house mate, Paul Bryan, took home the Player of the Year award for the SG Ball Cup side.

Keeley said he can't wait to come up against his mate while stating his pride in Bryan's achievements.

“It’s going to be awesome, I’ve only known him for a short period of time and he’s already my best mate,” Keeley said.

“I’m proud of him as it’s hard moving away from home, his family live in Mackay.

“Very proud of Max Bradbury too, I’m very close to him as we did our rehab together and we knew how hard it was for each other.

“It’s just beautiful when we can come back and play footy and have fun, put a smile on our face and do it together.”

Joey remembers Origin II of 2005

“Putting the sky blue jersey on will be an awesome experience and doing my family proud.

“I just want to learn and get better, everyday."

The match kicks off at 7:45pm at Leichhardt Oval, Sydney.

Two more junior Knights will feature in the Under 19's women's game with Tarsha Gale Cup players, Mia Middleton and Jules Kirkpatrick, set to line-up for the Blues.

Both games will be broadcasted Nine, Fox League and Kayo.

Make sure to check out the next generation of future Knights stars.