He looked up and saw Johnathan Thurston, looked right and saw Greg Inglis.

Former St Brendan's College Yeppoon student Cooper Bambling is a halfback on the rise.

Last Sunday, he trained against the mighty Maroons and on Wednesday night made his Queensland Under 20 debut.

"Sunday was a huge learning curve, the training, the intensity, the talk - it was nothing like I am used to," Bambling said.

"Seeing those players like JT, Cam Smith and that coming at you it's a bit intimidating. You don't want to embarrass yourself.

"To learn off that sort of calibre is something you don't forget."

Bambling's side suffered a 36-22 loss to the Blues, but the 20-year-old labelled it a "terrific experience".

"It was so fast and physical but we all really enjoyed it," he said.

"It was a lot different to playing u18s but the rivalry was definitely there. 

"Both teams hate each other but nothing could compare to the real thing.  

"I thought we matched them in the first and last 20s but fell away in that middle period and couldn't stay with them."

Bambling signed off from schoolboy footy in the best way possible and paid homage to the man who has made it happen for so many, Terry Hansen.

"Brendans was five of the best years of my life," he said.

"It's such a tight knit community - I've made lifelong friends and will never forget it.

"Terry did wonders for me and is a good mate of mine now.

"He taught me a lot of things on and off the field. Becoming a man and being more mature. 

"I still call him for advice."

The NRL is still the ultimate goal, but Bambling is level headed about his current season.

"NRL is definitely the dream, but I just want to be consistent for Under 20s and improve on a few areas of my game," he said.

"Hopefully let my football do the talking.

"We (NQ Cowboys Under 20s) are sitting in third, looking in good shape."

Cowboys' fans are dreading the day their man JT retires, but perhaps the heir-apparent to the world's greatest isn't so far away.