Maroons newcomers Pat Carrigan and AJ Brimson say they won't let Queensland coach Wayne Bennett down if they get the chance to debut in the State of Origin series.
The duo trained at Burleigh's Pizzey Park on Wednesday with fellow south-east Queensland-based Maroons squad members Moeaki Fotuaika, Jai Arrow and Phil Sami in a session overseen by Maroons head of performance Alex Corvo, assistant coach Neil Henry and former Queensland mentor Kevin Walters.
Broncos winger Xavier Coates did not attend as he was on a pre-scheduled holiday.
Carrigan said it was “exciting” to get his first senior Queensland kit after the Brisbane forward previously represented his state in the under 18s and under 20s.
After a gruelling season mentally and physically at the Broncos, he has spent time at the beach and freshened up during the past two weeks outside “the bubble” and is ready to test himself in the Origin cauldron.
"I play my footy pretty straight up and down. I like to get through a bit of work and do my job that way, and hopefully it’s suited to Origin footy," he said.
Moments that matter - Brad Fittler
"If I get the chance I’d love to get out there, compete and play with these guys. I’m excited to be here and learn. It’s a real privilege."
Carrigan was "pretty lucky" to have Bennett as his first senior coach when he was coming through the Broncos grades and would do everything in his power to do his selection justice.
"Being a bit of a footy fan growing up and what the Broncos are about in Queensland, Wayne’s all through that," he said.
Sign up for a free NRL Account to access this video and other exclusive content.
Not sure? Learn more about an NRL Account.
"The opportunity to be in his presence and learn off him and other guys … when you walk into the sheds or training paddock with Wayne there you automatically get a vote of confidence."
He was two when Bennett famously blooded 10 debutants in game one of 2001 and went on to win the series.
"Growing up in Queensland, if you love rugby league you know what it’s all about," Carrigan said.
Carrigan will have a big job to do if he lines up against Broncos teammate Payne Haas this series. The duo shared the Paul Morgan Medal as Brisbane's best for the year.
"Payno and I like to compete at training. If I got the chance it’d be awesome," Carrigan said.
"We played once against each other, we joke about it, it was in Mal Meninga Cup, he was playing for Gold Coast and I was playing for Easts.
AJ Brimson is untouchable
"We had a bit of a battle there. If I got the chance it would be good fun."
Brimson was yet to speak to Bennett about whether he would play fullback with Kalyn Ponga ruled out of the series.
"The last thing I'd want to do is let Queensland down. I love Queensland and it'd be an honour to play for them, so I'd do everything I could to fulfil the jersey," the Titans star said.
"[Ponga] played really well in that [fullback] position and it's a shame to see that he can't play the series. I've just got to try and make that position my own."
Brimson said the timing of his early-season back injury - in light of the late finish to the NRL season and historic end-of-year Origin series - was "a bit of a blessing and curse".
Slater reflects on what could be Smith's farewell
The 22-year-old former Queensland under 20s representative played the last nine NRL games of the season and scored seven tries.
"I worked really closely with Paul Scurfield our physio and he was pretty adamant about me gaining a bit of size and gaining some speed," Brimson said.
"I trusted him and he said I'd get you back bigger, faster and fitter. I am a kilo or two heavier than I was and feel just the same."