IN the space of 12 months, David Hollis has progressed through the rugby league ranks from schoolboy superstar to junior State of Origin debutant.
On Wednesday night, the 15-year-old former Wauchope High School student will hit Suncorp Stadium in front of tens of thousands of screaming Queenslanders baying for his blood.
But he’s not perturbed by it – in fact, he’s looking forward to the challenge of playing for the Blues under-16s.
“They reckon there will be about 30,000 people there or something like that for our game,” he said.
The crowd figure will be a significant increase on the sets of eyes who watched him star for New South Wales Combined High Schools at last year’s Australian Secondary Schools championships in Port Macquarie.
“The biggest (crowd) I’ve played in front of is a couple of hundred before and I’ve never played at Suncorp before, never,” Hollis said.
The teenager admitted to having goosebumps when the side had its captains run on Tuesday afternoon.
I was thinking I don’t want to leave this level, I’d love to do this 24/7.David Hollis
“The ground just blows you away,” he said.
“Looking up at the grandstands and then getting into the dressing sheds and seeing all the Blues posters – it’s just amazing.
“I was thinking I don’t want to leave this level, I’d love to do this 24/7.”
Hollis said former Blues Origin greats Danny Buderus and Brad Fittler, who will jointly coach the team had spoken about the importance of Origin.
He had the feeling if they could have pulled the boots on again they would have.
“They’re right into it and are always telling old stories about when they were playing and you can tell they want to be out there with you,” he said.
The 16-year-old said his NSWCHS jumper was an important representative moment in his fledgling career.
But he conceded it was nothing compared to the pride he would feel pulling on the sky blue jersey for the first time.
“This is my first proper New South Wales jersey,” Hollis said.
“It feels different because in the CHS team you feel good because you’re in the sky blue, but this one is State of Origin and it has the coat of arms.
“I’m ready to rip in and want to do my state proud.”
The front-rower expected to provide impact off the bench after the first 15 minutes.
“I’m so keen for it, it’s going to be a great atmosphere,” he said.
“I’m a bit nervous, but once I get a touch of the ball and do my first run I’ll be sweet.”