Campbell biding time for All Stars dream

Troy Whittaker |

Twelve years after Preston Campbell helped bring the All Stars game to life, his son Jayden is a chance to tread the same path and represent the Indigenous team.

But the promising Gold Coast fullback isn’t sure it’ll happen next month.

Campbell, 21, only made his NRL debut last season but showed enough to suggest he wouldn’t be out of place in the pre-season fixture conceptualised by Preston.

And with incumbent Indigenous custodian Latrell Mitchell unavailable due to suspension, the door is ajar for Jayden to claim the No.1 jersey worn by his dad in the inaugural All Stars game.

A call-up to the extended interchange appears more likely for the young livewire.

While his seven NRL games already include a finals appearance, Campbell doesn’t expect to be thrust into the representative arena against the Maori All Stars at CommBank Stadium on February 12.

“All Stars is obviously a goal of mine,” Campbell said on Monday.

“(But) I’ve only played a few games and you’ve got other players also up for selection that probably deserve it a little bit more than me at this point in time.

“Even just to be in the extended squad or the camp that they have, that’d be good enough for me.

“It’d be a dream come true. I want to play in the All Stars whenever I can, but I’ll just bide my time.”

Despite his inexperience, Campbell seemingly thrives on pressure and responsibility.

He’s been guaranteed to start at fullback for the Titans in the upcoming season with three-time Queensland representative AJ Brimson switching to five-eighth.

“It lets me put myself into a mindset where I know I’m in an important role in the team, so obviously I’ve got to work hard,” Campbell said.

“But I can’t get too comfortable. We’ve got a lot of great players here that can come grab that spot at any time.”

Gold Coast will go into their campaign with a raw spine also featuring halfback Toby Sexton, but two-time premiership winner Isaac Liu has brought a veteran’s edge to a dynamic forward pack.

The former Rooster has taken on a mentoring role.

“I’ll make sure I share some of that experience with the young boys and some of the guys that are already there in what (position) I’ve played in,” Liu said.

“I’ll just lead the way in any way I can performance-wise.”