When Matt Moylan’s name was read out as a member of Laurie Daley’s NSW Blues squad on Monday morning, it was almost a year to the day that the popular Penrith fullback went down with a season-ending injury.
Last year Moylan’s name was also tossed around in the Origin ring as a bolter for the 2015 series but the ankle injury he suffered against the Eels in Round 12 ruined any chance of him taking part.
But a year is a long time in footy.
After a slow start to the season with a troublesome back injury, the Panthers captain and St Clair Comets junior found form, is fit and firing again, and ready to take on his greatest challenge.
“Playing footy growing up you want to play at the highest level and, to have that opportunity this week and the challenge ahead, I’m very excited about. It’s going to be an honour to pull on the sky blue jersey on Wednesday,” Moylan said.
Like Panthers teammate and fellow Blues debutant Josh Mansour, Moylan received a call from Penrith’s football manager on Sunday night to let him in on the good news.
Despite what looked to be some apparent nerves during Penrith’s heartbreaking loss to the Titans on Sunday afternoon, Moylan said he hasn’t been thinking about his impending Origin selection.
“Personally, no, if you read into all the speculation and let it get to you, it’s probably going to affect your performance,” he said.
“To get out there and play a good game you’ve just got to do what you normally do and let that talk and speculation go by.
“I think you’ve just got to go out there and put your best foot forward and the rest is in the selectors’ hands.”
Moylan is one of five new faces to be chosen in the NSW team for the Origin opener at ANZ Stadium with a number of familiar names of Origins past including Beau Scott, Ryan Hoffman, Mitchell Pearce and Penrith’s Trent Merrin given the flick to accommodate the new blood.
Moylan said he’s expecting to get a lot out of his first Origin experience.
“There’s a few new faces and that’s going to bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the squad,” he said.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.