FRANCIS Katoa is in a position many would envy.
Ahead of tomorrow’s State of Origin opener at Etihad Stadium, the Sea Eagles’ Harold Matthews representative will be cheering on the Blues. The difference is he will be in Melbourne and may even share a locker with the player he bases his game on, Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah. The Cromer Kingfishers rake will take part in the curtain raiser against the Maroons and is climbing walls ahead of the occasion. “I am really excited, it’s going to be massive,” the Narrabeen Sports High student said. “To even go to an Origin game would be fantastic, so to be able to run out on the field and play in the earlier game is unreal. “The atmosphere is going to be something else, I am bracing myself for the best night of my life.” Francis booked his place in the 17-strong squad following a series of impressive performances in a handful of “possibles v probables” trials recently at Leichhardt Oval. “Everyone who was invited (to trial) was good so I had no idea if I was going to make it,” he said. “I felt I played fairly well but you can never be sure if you have done enough. “I was coming home from school on the bus when I got the call from (Sea Eagles Coaching and Development Manager) Dave Warwick saying I had made the team. “I wanted to scream out but it would of been weird in front of the other passengers.” Francis’ achievement is all the more remarkable after he revealed he is on comeback trail from a knee reconstruction. “At the time I did my knee I was worried I would never quite be the same,” he said. “It was a routine game, I took the ball up and went to side-step a bloke and it buckled. “The pain was pretty intense but I just kept telling myself not to panic. “As soon as I got my knee fixed I started training once the doctor said it was fine. “I am stoked to be hours away from pulling on a Blues jersey.” http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/sport/story/atmosphere-electric-for-blues-francis/