Su’A credits Bennett, Flanagan for Maroons recall

Joel Gould |

Queensland forward Jaydn Su’A is back in the Origin side after a three-year absence.
Queensland forward Jaydn Su’A is back in the Origin side after a three-year absence.

Wayne Bennett, Shane Flanagan and Ben Te’o have been credited by recalled Queensland forward Jaydn Su’A as the holy trinity of key figures who resurrected his career and instilled Origin belief.

“The thing that saved me was Wayne going to the Bunnies,” St George-Illawarra second-rower Su’A said when reflecting on the 2019 season when he was forced out of Brisbane. It was the club he signed with as a 14-year old and played under Bennett at for three seasons.

Su’A followed Bennett to Souths and when the mastercoach became Maroons coach in 2020 he gave him his Origin debut.

“It was hard. I never wanted to leave (the Broncos) but I am grateful it panned out the way it did,” Su’A said.

“I have been close to Wayne. He gave me my debut and it was like a homely feel going to the Rabbitohs knowing he was there.

“It is about instilling belief with Wayne. He makes you feel 10 feet tall and understands how to connect with you as a player. That is why players want to play for him.”

Jayden Su'A, Patrick Carrigan and Reece Walsh.
Jaydn Su’A (L) arrives in Maroons camp with Patrick Carrigan (C) and Reece Walsh (R). (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

Su’A shone in the 2020 Origin series, won by the Maroons, but last played for Queensland in 2021. He says the arrival of new head coach Flanagan at the Dragons, and some tough love, has got him firing again ahead of the State of Origin season opener in Sydney on Wednesday night.

“Pre-season was massive. Having Flanno has definitely been big, and staying healthy on the field,” he said.

“I got injured last year and only played 13 games. The year before I got injured as well.

“Flanno is tough. Some of the video sessions we have are pretty confronting. It’s what we need. We are obviously not where we want to be, but we have responded better.”

Former Broncos, Rabbitohs and Maroons enforcer Te’o had coffee with Su’A at the start of the 2019 season and gave him advice about setting his goals high and going for them. They share a “hit-man” reputation.

“He has that Origin style with his brute force. Ben was a hit-man as well and in my career, being a second-rower at Brisbane, he was someone I looked up to,” Su’A said.

“He was at the Rabbitohs as well, and then I went to the Rabbitohs. So that was pretty cool. I got to sit down with him and have a chat and he was awesome for me.”

Now Su’A wants to prove to Queensland coach Billy Slater that he deserved his recall.

“Of course. I feel Billy has selected me because I am doing well this year and I just want to bring my own approach to this game and do everything I can to stay here now,” he said.

“When I got the call I couldn’t stop smiling. My partner and parents are very proud. It was an emotional moment. It has been a tough journey to get back here.”