State of Origin 2021: 'He's just scratching the surface' - Parents' pride for NSW rookie star Jarome Luai

New South Wales will unleash star half Jarome Luai in State of Origin’s opener on Wednesday night.

The 24-year-old has taken the NRL by storm this season and with him, every step of the way, have been his parents, who both have Kiwi links. 

"We love him, and we're just so proud and excited," mum Raumako Luai tells Newshub. "We can’t wait."

Dad Martin was born in New Zealand, while Raumoko is part Māori.

"He embraces every part of his culture," says Martin Luai.  "He's got Kiwi in him, he’s got Samoan in him, even a bit of English in him."

And their son tells Newshub he's equally proud of his NZ roots.

"Definitely means a lot to me," says the Penrith Panthers dynamo. "Family comes first. 

"Dad was [in New Zealand] for a few years - he was born there - and mum's half Māori."

And the playmaker credits his parents for his success. 

"I wouldn’t be here without those guys, and I'm so thankful mum and dad instilled that into me from a very young age. Hopefully, I can make them proud tomorrow."

Luai has been a major part of Penrith's recent NRL dominance, leading the competition in try assists, but according to his dad, it’s not even close to his son's best.

"To be honest, he hasn't even scratched the surface," Martin Luai insists. 

"Those who know Jarome and the brand of footy he's playing, he's only just getting started."

His incredibly proud parents have been there every step of the way.  

"If I could say one thing I've done right in my life, it's the way I've brought up my kids," Martin adds.

"It's a credit to him that he's made it this far and still be able to be himself. I think everyone sees it on social media and TV, that’s exactly how he acts."

Their reward will be watching their pride and joy play at the highest level, in his first Origin match.

Tune into Three or ThreeNow from 9:50pm (NZ time) Wednesday for free-to-air coverage of the State of Origin opener, or join us for live updates