Broncos halfback Cory Paix has modelled his game on Cooper Cronk but it was a surprise stint at hooker for the Queensland under 18s last year that has given him an extra string to his bow as he prepares to come off the bench in the club's first trial on Saturday.
The 19-year-old had not trained at hooker before Queensland under 18s coach Kurt Richards, also a Broncos assistant, played him there against NSW last year.
Now Paix, who will play against Souths-Logan in Warwick, is training on occasions at hooker for Brisbane as he adds utility value to his game, a scenario that has been a great benefit to St George Illawarra half Ben Hunt at representative level.
"I am contracted to the Broncos until 2020 and half is my strong suit but when I train at nine I am going to take it all in because who knows, in the future it could be my position," Paix told NRL.com.
"That week before Origin last year was the first time I'd trained at hooker. It was definitely a great investment in my future.
"Kurt had called me in and said I wasn't playing my preferred position but it didn't worry me because it was a Queensland jersey, so I went out and had a red hot crack."
Paix will get an opportunity to play in the halves in the Intrust Super Cup this year.
"You never want to throw him in at nine now and pigeonhole him there because his position growing up has been half, but having that ability and the skill set to play at nine gives Cory the opportunity to grow," Richards, who will coach the Broncos on Saturday night, said.
"His dream is to get to the NRL so the more positions he can play the better.
"Cory is a competitor and likes structure, and he's developing some really good habits as we work on his individual skill set. You watch us train and he is one of the last to leave."
It is Cronk's style that Paix most wants to emulate, and he has the work ethic to go with it.
"As a younger guy I've watched a lot of Cooper Cronk and I love the way he plays. He's a very precise player and very structured and has great chat amongst the boys," Paix said.
"Over the years I have done a lot of work with Kurt Richards and he's provided a massive stepping stone for me. He's made little tweaks to my game, made me keep at it and realise that what you do through the week will affect how you play in a game"
Paix was rewarded for that hard work recently when he wore the Broncos jersey at training, given to the club's best trainers for the week, a privilege he deemed "a great honour".
Brisbane will field four halves on Saturday night with Tom Dearden, Troy Dargan and Tanah Boyd in the squad.
The presence of 18-year-old Boyd keeps the fire in Paix's belly burning.
Opponents as youngsters, they became teammates in Queensland rep sides and recently attended the Maroons Emerging Origin Under 20s camp.
"We were roomies back in the day from the Queensland 16s and are really good mates," Paix said.
"Being together at the Broncos is a really good driver for both of us. We both want the same things and we are going to keep at it.
"I'm on a rookie contract and for now I am still in the learning stages so it is all about developing."
And if Paix gets the chance to play hooker any time soon he vowed he would be ready.
"If I am playing nine it will always be about great service to my half and being on all the time in defence," he said.
"That 18s game last year was the toughest game I've played in my life. I take my hat off to all the hookers."