He has his first grade player number (1070) tattooed on his neck, but this Sunday, Rabbitohs forward Chris McQueen will have another number to be proud of when he notches up his 100th first grade game when Souths take on Canberra in Cairns.
Now in his seventh season in the top grade, McQueen made his first grade debut for the Rabbitohs against Manly at Brookvale Oval in Round 22 of the 2009 season – the then-winger scoring a try to help down the Sea Eagles 36-22.
During his time in the top grade, McQueen has evolved from a powerful winger to a Queensland State of Origin forward and Rabbitohs Premiership winner. For McQueen, it’s been a long road to reach his 100th match.
“This is my seventh year at the Club – I guess it probably has taken a little while,” said McQueen.
“I had a few serious injuries and was in and out of first grade for a while, so I do feel like it’s taken a long time and when I made my debut I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to get here. Now I’m here.”
Playing back in his home state this week, McQueen will have the support of plenty of family when he crosses the white stripe and achieves the milestone.
“It’s great to get to play up in Queensland,” said McQueen.
“My whole family’s going to be up there – my dad actually lives in Cairns, mum’s flying up from Brisbane, one of my brother’s lives in Cairns. It’s the perfect way to celebrate.”
But it while the milestone is an important one for the damaging back-rower, McQueen is under no illusions as to the task ahead of him and his teammates after going down in their last two appearances.
“We’ve obviously had a couple of losses in a row and it’s been frustrating for us because I feel like we’ve been training really hard,” said McQueen.
“We’ve been ripping in and we’re not quite getting the results. So we’ve got to continue to train hard and we’ll get those results soon.
“I think it’s just a bit of our discipline – giving away too many penalties, too many incomplete sets. When you don’t have the ball and you’re giving away too many cheap penalties it makes it tough for yourself, so we just need to tighten up that discipline.”
The Rabbitohs will take on the Canberra Raiders at Barlow Park in Cairns this Sunday 26 April. Kick-off is at 4pm local time. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.ticketscairns.com.au now! For more information on game day, please click here.