Wests Tigers young gun Bayley Sironen isn’t a stranger to wearing the blue shirt of New South Wales, but says he feels privileged to be able to represent NSW once again.
An Australian Schoolboys representative, Sironen made his representative debut for NSW in 2012 when he featured in the U/16’s team alongside the likes of Sione Mata’utia, Robert Jennings and current Wests Tigers Holden Cup teammate Mark McCormack.
New South Wales would go on to win the match 30-16, with Sironen playing five-eighth.
Four years later, the now 19-year-old says he’s incredibly proud to be back in the blue.
“It’s a great privilege,” Sironen said ahead of tomorrow night’s U/20’s Origin match.
“You always want to make all the representative sides that you can in your career, and this is a great opportunity for me to do my family, my Club and my state proud.”
“There’s that hatred that comes with playing Queensland, so we want to make sure we stick it to them early and help make that clean sweep for the New South Wales juniors.”
Since the concept of the U/20’s Origin match was introduced in 2012, NSW have never tasted defeat to their domestic counterparts, and with several players unavailable, many believe that Wednesday’s match could be Queensland’s best chance to taste victory.
According to Sironen, however, that pressure of expectation hasn’t been felt at all in camp, with the teenager praising the setup and experience leading into the big game.
“It’s been a really great time in camp,” Sironen enthused. “The coaching staff have been really good and we’re really gelling well as a team, which has been really enjoyable.
“The time we had away in Kiama was really helpful and I think we’re all feeling really refreshed and ready to rip in tomorrow night. Everyone’s pretty confident here.
“I’ve just been trying to soak it all up and enjoy the experience of it all.
“For me too, it’s been great to be alongside big Nela [Taniela Paseka] as well," he said.
"He’s a big personality and it’s good to have a teammate and someone you’re around often in these camps to remind you a bit of why you’re here and what it took to get here. I’m really happy for him to have achieved this as well and I’m sure he’ll go out there and kill it.”
Kickoff for the U/20’s State of Origin match is at 5:30pm on Wednesday, July 13.