Kaufusi is ready to rock, according to his brother
LEAGUE: When Bundaberg's Felise Kaufusi found out he was making his debut for Queensland, he was back home where his football career began.
Kaufusi yesterday was named in the Maroons squad for game one against New South Wales, selected after a stellar 12 months for the Melbourne Storm and Australia.
He was named in the second row in Maroons coach Kevin Walter's team with fellow Bundy boy Coen Hess also selected on the bench.
For the Rum City, it is the first time in 24 years that the region has had two players selected for State of Origin.
This time both will play for Queensland after Bundy-born players Mal Meninga and Ken Nagas played for the Maroons and the Blues respectively in 1994.
And it was in Bundaberg where Kaufusi found out he would make be making his debut.
The Storm forward had returned to visit his family for a couple of days after the side had defeated North Queensland in Townsville on Friday night.
"He came on Saturday and didn't know, didn't say much,” his elder brother and former NRL star Antonio Kaufusi revealed.
"It was my wife's birthday on Sunday and we went to church, so I asked him if he got selected after it and he shook his head.
"He then didn't get a phone call during the day, so I said I'm really sorry because I didn't think he made it.”
Antonio at the time was wondering if other players took had taken his spot, including Canberra's Josh Papalii.
But Antonio didn't know at the time it was all part of an elaborate plan by Felise to surprise the family.
"We went out for dinner for my wife's birthday later that night,” he said.
"He then said, 'I'm in the team' after the celebrations, he actually found out at lunch time.
"It was a nice surprise but I did want to uppercut him because I felt sorry for him for not being picked.”
Antonio said the family was proud of Felise making the team and he's ready to 'rock and roll' in the starting line-up.
"It might be the best thing for him to start,” he said.
"He's already played big games for Melbourne and Australia, so he knows what to expect.”
Felise becomes the third Bundaberg player to play for Queensland in the past 11- years after Antonio played in 2007 and Hess played last year.
Antonio said the dual selection was a nice boost for the region.
"It's great for rugby league in the region,” he said.
"It shows we do produce quality players and it is good for the youngsters as it gives them something to aspire to.”
Felise and Hess will now enter Origin camp with Queensland playing New South Wales on Wednesday week at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
SQUAD: Billy Slater, Valentine Holmes, Greg Inglis (captain), Will Chambers, Dane Gagai, Cameron Munster, Ben Hunt, Dylan Napa, Andrew McCullough, Jarrod Wallace, Gavin Cooper, Felise Kaufusi, Josh McGuire, Michael Morgan, Josh Papalii, Coen Hess, Jai Arrow