Former coast league junior to direct traffic for Maroons
QUEENSLAND under-20s coach Andrew Dunemann has no doubts that Sunshine Coast product Moses Mbye has the makings of an NRL player.
Mbye, 19, has been named at five-eighth for the Maroons' State of Origin under-20s clash in Penrith.
The former Noosa Pirates junior - the Canterbury Bulldogs under-20s captain - has come on in leaps and bounds this year after an invitation from coach Des Hasler to train with the Canterbury NRL squad in the pre-season.
Playing behind Josh Reynolds, Kris Keating and Trent Hodkinson, Mbye is yet to make his NRL debut but has been earmarked by the Bulldogs as a player with a significant future.
Having played off the bench in last year's inaugural State of Origin under-20s match, Mbye has progressed to a run-on halves spot this year.
He will form a scrum-base partnership with Canberra's Anthony Milford, who is considered one of the country's most exciting talents and has already drawn comparisons to Johnathan Thurston.
Dunemann said of Mbye: "He's a good runner of the footy, but the enduring thing about him is he's just a good kid.
"He's just well grounded and well mannered. That's the overriding thing that sticks out about him."
When asked if Mbye had the potential to make the step up to NRL, Dunemann said: "Without a doubt. All the boys in the squad have the ability."
A powerful ball runner, Mbye has been groomed as a pivot but also has the attributes to play centre or hooker.
Mbye was a member of the state junior team that lost 18-14 to New South Wales last year.
Seven players from that Queensland squad have been picked in the under-20 side to play in Penrith.
Dunemann said that defeat had stung his charges and they were hungry for revenge.
"I think the boys really bought into the concept and what it is all about," he said.
"Hopefully, that will show in their performance.
"Every time you put on a Queensland jersey, there's certainly no lack of passion."