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The Roar


Bring it on: Luai ready for Maroons response to 'that' Kaufusi photo

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19th June, 2021

Jarome Luai has told Queensland to bring it on, with the NSW State of Origin five-eighth ready to be targeted for a photo of him standing over Felise Kaufusi.

An image of Luai spraying Faufusi while the second-rower is on the ground is believed to have lit a fire in the Maroons group, with the shot passed around Queensland’s squad.

Luai revealed the moment came after a Junior Paulo hit up from a kick-off skittled Kaufusi, and not after fulltime or following a try as originally thought.

But the Penrith No.6 does expect the moment to put a target on his back at Suncorp Stadium next Sunday.

“He (Paulo) had a big run and had a good carry and left a few of the boys on the ground. I was so pumped,” Luai said.

“There wasn’t much in it … but it’s probably put a target on myself to be honest.

“But I was probably targeted in the first game as well. So not much is going to change for me in terms of mentality.

“It probably will fire them up and it’s at Suncorp as well, so it’s going to be a different beast.”

Luai is used to being the antagoniser, having happily accepted the role of being one of the team’s pests at the Panthers.


And he also thrives off being targeted.

He claims he was brought to life by the Maroons’ sledging in Origin I in Townsville, after copping an accidental knee in the back from Xavier Coates.

The response was emphatic, playing a starring role in the Blues’ biggest win in their history.

Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai

(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

“It was a bit of a memory bank moment,” Luai said.

“When I went down a few of their players had a little bit to say to me. It was just the same words, ‘you’re soft. Get up’. The same crap.

“But as soon as I heard it I was like, I’m alright … It woke me up and got me in the game. So it’s a bit of a let’s-go mentality.”

Luai will again be named at No.6 in Brad Fittler’s team for Game II on Sunday, with Angus Crichton now appearing likely to be a straight swap for the injured Jake Trbojevic.


It means all the Panthers will again be there, with Liam Martin to hold his spot on the bench after making a statement in Penrith’s Friday night win over the Sydney Roosters.

And they also all know how Luai enjoys being targeted.

“(Queensland) are obviously going to send it back and be angry about that (photo) and try and fire us up,” winger Brian To’o said.

“That only makes us more keen for the next game. Me and my boy will be ready to take it on.

“He loves it, it’s the reason why he plays. It just motivates him to be the player he is today.”