Emerald’s King of the jungle

Matthew Holdsworth - CQ News

LIKE his Emerald namesake, Jason King is hungry for more after the teen sensation had his first taste of international rugby league.

For the Emerald Tigers halfback it was an "unreal" honour representing his native South Africa in its bid to make the Rugby League World Cup finals.

Pulling on the green, white and gold of the Rhinos jersey for the first time was an emotional moment for King, even more so during the nation anthem.

"I never thought I would get the chance to play for South Africa playing rugby league," King, a current Emerald Tiger, said.

"It was such a privilege. I can't really explain how I was feeling at the time but singing the national anthem got me a bit emotional.

"I have honestly enjoyed every moment and just having the chance to qualify and play for the Rhinos is unreal."

King, 18, was born in South Africa Springs and moved to Emerald in 2006.

He spent time playing for both Brothers and Tigers.

Up against a strong Lebanon side - littered with New South Wales cup talent and Travis Robinson, James Elias and Ray Moujalli, who all have played NRL - South Africa and King found the going tough.

South Africa was downed in both qualifiers.

"In the first game I didn't do enough work out on the field," King said.

"So I was a bit disappointed with my game but I played better in the second as I got more involved.

"It is still one of the best experiences I have ever had and one I will never forget."

Despite missing out, King enthused he thought South African league was in a good place and would come back stronger.

"We will definitely come back stronger from the two losses," he said.

"The players were disappointed but were all keen to get back into training and start working towards the next qualifier.

"My goals are just to see how far I can make it in the sport. I would love to play for South Africa again."

The 2017 Rugby League World Cup will be its 15th instalment.

Fourteen teams from around the world will take part in the competition, hosted by Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.


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