PROMINENT junior rugby league player Joseph Tramontana said he had never played in front of such a big crowd in his life.
Nor had he felt such an electric and pulsating atmosphere at a footy arena.
The Kemps Creek teenager captained the NSW under-16s team that defeated Queensland 30-0 in their representative game, the curtain raiser, played before State of Origin I at ANZ Stadium.
The talented hooker led from the front for the Blues in the emphatic win. The ground was a sea of blue and the noise deafening.
"We only play one game against Queensland in this age group," Joseph, 16, said.
"It was a great experience as when we ran out there were about 10,000 people at the stadium.
"When the game finished I reckon there were between 60,000 to 65,000 people.
"To be a part of that game before the Origin was a great experience."
Joseph plays for the Marconi Mustangs junior club in the under-16s first division team that plays in the Parramatta District Junior League.
The Mustangs club formed seven years ago and Joseph signed up in the under-9s. His father Vincent coaches the under-16s team that is galloping towards the finals.
In his dad's team, Joseph switches to five-eighth. He has also played a lot of footy at halfback or pivot, but hooker is what he prefers.
"I like being the dummy half," the teenager said.
Joseph also plays at hooker for the Parramatta Eels Harold Matthews under-16s representative team that recently won the NSW Rugby League competition by defeating South Sydney.
The year 11 student at Patrician Brothers College, Blacktown also plays league for the school.
Next year Joseph will have to move up from the Harold Matthews Cup under-16s team because he will turn 17.
"I will trial for Parramatta's S.G. Ball Cup, which is under-18s competition," he said.
Joseph said that his long-term ambition, if he is considered good enough, is to play in the NRL.