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4 days ago
Prop Jason King might be the biggest player in the Manly NRL team, but he easily goes unnoticed.
At 192cm and 111kg, his supreme stature casts a shadow over his teammates in a physical sense, but he is the one wanting to step into the light this year.
The local Manly junior has played for the NSW City Origin side every year since 2005, and after a bright start to 2008 he is again likely to be front and centre when the team is announced this Sunday.
But King wants more from his representative career.
He watched last year as Country prop Brett White turned in a blinder in the annual City-Country grudge match to jump from nowhere into a sky-blue NSW jersey.
It's a path he wants to follow, and for King that road starts Saturday night against the Bulldogs at Brookvale Oval.
"I want to get the win for Manly first but if I can get in the City team that would be great," said King.
"I've got to have a good game playing for City. I want to make that team first and then if I play well I can get another shot after that and take my game to the next level.
"I would like to think I'm a chance of making teams like that (NSW) but I know I have to play some good footy to put my hand up.
"There's plenty of good competition and guys playing in the front row. All I can do is concentrate on my game and play the best I can every week."
King knows the queue for a Blues jumper is a long one.
Ahead of him is Manly teammate and Test prop Brent Kite, not to mention Willie Mason, White, Luke Bailey and former Blues enforcers like Mark O'Meley, Jason Ryles, Josh Perry and Joel Clinton.
Then there's the new breed to battle with, guys like Luke Douglas, Justin Poore and Bryce Gibbs. And the late bloomers Ben Cross and Todd Payten.
While most of his competition are standouts at their own NRL clubs, King has a three-way battle for attention at Manly with Kite and new recruit Perry.
Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler doesn't play favourites and usually starts all three and lets the trio play until they're buggered.
It's unsurprising then that King, of the three, has played the most minutes in 2008 and leads their tackle count.
He is your typical dependable worker. Always gets the job done without drawing attention to himself, but his teammates know he is there.
And the type of player who is always looking to take the next step, even if others don't expect him too.
"I'm just continually trying to improve all aspects of my game," he said.
"I have some things I want to work on and I hope can give myself every chance to make those (rep) teams.
"I'm working on my fitness, mixing my game up and being a better defender.
"I'm just trying to become an all round better front rower."