The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement

RWC heartache, Eddie and what's next: In demand young gun delivers biggest clue yet on future

5th February, 2024
Advertisement
Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
Editor
5th February, 2024
46
4131 Reads

In words that will warm the hearts of Australian rugby fans, young gun Max Jorgensen says he wants to “make his mark here and play for the Wallabies”.

His reason?

The unique opportunity to line up against the British and Irish Lions next year and, perhaps, feature in a home World Cup in 2027 too.

“That’s the dream to play in a World Cup, playing for the Wallabies,” he told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

“Obviously with the British and Irish Lions coming up next year, it only comes around every 12 years, so if you miss that you don’t really get another opportunity to do it again, so playing in something like that would be awesome.

“I’m just focusing on this year, trying to have a good season with the Tahs and then see what happens.”

Asked whether it was accurate to say he wanted to stay in the game, he said: “I think that’s probably fair to say, I obviously love the game.”

Advertisement

Nor will he dismiss the idea of trying to play at an Olympics either, even if it’s in Los Angeles in 2028 rather than later this year in Paris.

“I don’t think this year,” he said.

“But that’s a dream to play for Australia at the Olympics and win a gold medal, or any medal, in fact.

“That’d be pretty cool, but probably not this year. Just focus on the Tahs obviously, and then hopefully make my Wallabies debut. That’s my main focus.”

Max Jorgensen was in like to make his Wallabies debut at the World Cup before he injured his leg at training at Stade Roger Baudras in Saint-Etienne,. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Jorgensen, 19, is off contract at year’s end and, having made Eddie Jones’ World Cup squad in his debut season for the Waratahs, is once again likely to be pursued by cashed-up sides in the NRL over the next months, before his management looks to settle on his next move by the end of March.

Advertisement

Having turned down the Sydney Roosters and Canterbury Bulldogs as a teenager, the fleet-footed fullback turned heads in his rookie season.

Jorgensen scored two tries on debut, spinning through three defenders, including Wallabies tight-head prop Allan Alaalatoa, to score under the posts at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Then he showed off his clean pair of heels to score out wide.

He didn’t look back, wowing audiences across the ditch by scoring against the Hurricanes too.

Mark Nawaqanitawase with Max Jorgensen after scoring against the Melbourne Rebels at Allianz Stadium. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Jorgensen’s prodigious talent led to him being included in every Wallabies training camp by Eddie Jones, including the World Cup squad despite coming back from a devastating knee-injury late in the season in Christchurch.

Then, just as the former St Joseph’s talent looked set to become the youngest Wallaby to play at a World Cup, injury struck again as he landed awkwardly and broke his leg.

Advertisement

“It’s a bit of a blur now,” Jorgensen reflected.

“I just went up for a high ball, it was not even contested, I just landed on it and snapped it.

“It was devastating. I didn’t I didn’t think much of it at first. I was just praying that it’d be a bad rolled ankle or something like that. I went off to get a scan and it was broken straight through.

“It was devastating to go back on the plane ride by myself, just in my own thoughts.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t get my Wallabies debut, but I like to say that everything happens for a reason so hopefully get another shot this year.”

So what did Jorgensen make of his World Cup experience?

Advertisement

“Once I went to the first France game before that World Cup actually started, just sitting on the sideline, the atmosphere was just insane,” he said.

“I just wanted to be out there and play with those boys.

“I learned so much from not only the experienced players but also Eddie.”

And what of Jones, the veteran coach who ditched the Wallabies after one season to only join Japan?

“I loved how he backed me,” Jorgensen said. “I was coming off my knee-injury. I hadn’t been playing footy and he backed my abilities and picked me for the World Cup.

“I learned a lot from him. He’ll probably stick with me for a while.”

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones talks with Max Jorgensen during an Australia Wallabies training camp at Sanctuary Cove on April 17, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Max Jorgensen says he’s thankful to former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Advertisement

Jones, especially, copped plenty from every direction throughout the campaign, but the boos that drowned out stadiums across France extended to the entire Wallabies group as fans got behind the underdog stories of Fiji and Portugal.

Jorgensen said he thought the Wallabies, including himself, would benefit in the long-run from the brutal experience.

“I was so devastated for the boys, I was feeling all their pain,” he said.

“Not playing, I was doing everything I could to help the boys and try to mirror what the other teams would be doing. But I felt the exact same pain. It was devastating not making the finals.

“But, for me, it was a good experience to sort of go through something like that. Something where you don’t win anything, and the fans are hating you and stuff like that. As hard as it is, I think I’ll grow as a player and we’ll be better for it.”

Jorgensen is expected to be fit for the Waratahs’ first Super Rugby fixture of the year against the Reds in Brisbane on February 24.

close