'Wonderkid' pens deal with Australia
TRANSFER NEWS: Jordan Petaia has put pen-to-paper on a new four-year deal that will see him remain in Queensland until at least the end of 2022.
The 18-year old was set to make his Wallabies debut against Italy in Padua last weekend before a hamstring injury cruelled his bid to become the third-youngest player to ever represent Australia at Test level.
Petaia only graduated from high school in Brisbane last year but has already starred for the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby and Queensland Country in the National Rugby Championship, where he was this year’s leading try scorer with 10 tries.
“It’s been an awesome experience travelling and training with the boys on the Spring Tour. It obviously wasn’t the greatest thing to get that little hamstring injury before the Italy game but I’ve learned to deal with it. I’ll get over it and hopefully there will be more opportunities ahead,” Petaia said.
“I tried to set goals at the start of the year but obviously it’s been just one step at a time. This year, I was just trying to make the pre-season with the Reds squad and then everything just came after that.
“I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, focusing on every little step and gradually improving and working on my game.
“I’m probably still learning a big part of my game. I’ve still got a lot to work on but my confidence has improved over the year as I’ve been developing.
“I’m just trying to sit back and watch how the veterans do it and learning off the coaches and try to soak up as much knowledge as I can,” Petaia said.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: “He’s a very skilful young player. He’s shown me, the other coaches and the other players on this tour that he’s up to Test standard.
“Jordan has made all the right moves this season. His NRC form was outstanding with all the creativity and try-scoring.
“Disappointing for him to miss his chance on the weekend but there will be plenty more to come from Jordan in the years ahead,” Cheika said.
Petaia is already in the record books as Queensland’s youngest-ever Super Rugby debutant when he played against the Brumbies in Canberra earlier this year just weeks after his 18th birthday.