TINO TIME: Gympie's kid dynamite to pull on maroon jersey
RUGBY LEAGUE: Gympie's kid dynamite Tino Fa'asuamaleaui has capped off impressive showings for the Sunshine Coast Falcons with selection in the coveted Queensland Residents side set to take on New South Wales this weekend.
The 19-year-old learned he would be pulling on the Residents jersey the same day his ladder-leading Sunshine Coast Falcons obliterated the Souths Logan Magpies 72-4 in their Round 9 Intrust Super Cup clash on Sunday.
Coming off the bench, Fa'asuamaleaui added 40 minutes more of valuable playing time to his 2019 resume, gaining 115m on 11 runs with one tackle break, 44 kick return metres and 38 post-contact metres against the hapless Magpies.
The Residents squad, picked entirely from the Super Cup talent pool, entered training camp on the Gold Coast yesterday ahead of the State of Origin-like showdown with NSW.
Residents coach Jon Buchanan said the pre-match aim was simple.
"We'll give the players a freshen up early in the week because they're all obviously coming off club footy,” Buchanan said.
"Our aim is to get everything right with our preparation to give us the best possible chance against a very strong NSW team.”
Named in an interchange spot for the Residents, the second rower was lined up to play alongside Storm teammates Harry Grant, Patrick Kaufusi and Billy Walters, who have since been withdrawn for NRL duties.
The Queensland line-up will feature a host of Residents debutants, with Fa'asumaleaui among them. Walters, Nat Neale, Kaufusi and Mitch Cronin were the only players backing up from last year's 36-20 loss to NSW in Sydney before the withdrawals yesterday morning.
Fa'asuamaleaui is still expected to take the field with fellow Falcon Darryn Schonig.
Buchanan said he was pleased with the strike power in his squad's key positions.
"There's a number of really good players who have missed out, which is what can happen when you're picking a team like this out of the Intrust Super Cup,” he said.
"In consultation with the QRL and fellow selectors, we've made every effort to provide an opportunity for players who have been involved in Queensland's junior pathways.”
An 18-year-old Fa'asuamaleaui played in Queensland colours last year at under-20 level, and in October scored two tries for the junior Australian Kangaroos in a trans-Tasman clash against New Zealand.
XXXX Queensland Residents v Canterbury Cup NSW Residents, Dolphin Stadium, Redcliffe. 1.10pm kick off (Live on GEM in QLD and NSW).