Horsburgh under Hodges' guidance
Queensland Under-20s utility forward Corey Horsburgh knows how close he came to blowing his rugby league career before it had even started.
The Brisbane-born redhead had plenty of admirers when he was at the North Queensland Cowboys club last year but a few poor decisions, which resulted in two suspensions, put the skids on his NRL push.
While he messed up, his talent was undeniable and the Canberra Raiders were willing to take a gamble that his indiscretions were just part of his 'growing up' process.
Likened to former Brisbane, Queensland and Australian forward Corey Parker for his high work-rate and another Broncos representative forward, Josh McGuire, for his aggression, Horsburgh has had to mature rapidly to get his rugby league career back on track.
"It was a big lesson and it made me grow up quickly," the solidly built young forward told QRL Media when he and teammates entered camp last week under coach and former Queensland Origin star Justin Hodges on the Gold Coast.
"I realised if I wanted this (professional rugby league career) I had to pull my head in.
"It was a wake-up call."
Horsburgh got a phone call out of the blue from Canberra and decided it would be a good place to start again.
"It was all good at the Cowboys, I just didn't think there was anything there for me after the mistakes I made," he said.
On Wednesday night Horsburgh gets a great opportunity to further show just how far he has come in the past 12 months.
He loves playing the middle and eats up the physicality, has a nice offload and a big engine.
Like most redheads, he also has plenty of fire.
"I play anywhere the coach wants to pick me," he said.
"I love the middle, I love the physicality.
"I looked up to Corey Parker when I was growing up, I really loved how he played his footy.
Like Parker, Horsburgh can also get the ball free in traffic, a handy asset to his game
"I like to get the ball away, it's a bit of an art," he smiled.
"You get in trouble with the coach if you mess it up.
"It's a fine line and I try to only offload when it is safe."
Horsburgh realises his role in the team as an enforcer and he will take the field on Wednesday night with an aggressive, physical attitude.
"Everything I do has got to be at 100 per cent," he insisted.
"We're not going to lose. I can't see us losing if we all do that."
The young forward admits he doesn't have too many singular Origin memories growing up, except for when Darren Lockyer swooped on a bad pass to save the series in 2006.
"I remember that one, that's the one that stands out for me," Horsburgh says.
Contracted to the Raiders until 2020, with a final year option in his favour, said the Canberra club was still close-knit, despite the team's bad habit of failing to close out games after building substantial leads.
"Ricky (coach Ricky Stuart) keeps things in-house with the playing group but it is a good place and an enjoyable place to play your footy," Horsburgh said
"It's all very positive around the club and the boys will turn it around."
Here's hoping Queensland can turn things around with their first Under 20s win over NSW at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.