Queensland Maroons five-eighth Cameron Munster loves the state, the colour maroon and everything that stands for.
Put simply, "it means everything".
"As a little kid growing up, watching a lot of Queenslanders wearing maroon and go out there and do everything they could to win for their state... there was nothing like it."
Munster said as a child, he longed to be in the shoes of Darren Lockyer and watched every State of Origin game intently.
"I think it’s the case for most people but mum and dad, Wednesday, we would always talk about State of Origin the day of the game... go home, never cooked… it was always pizza from Domino's or Eagle Boys... that's something I really remember," Munster said.
"As a child, watching on TV and going to school the next day if we won and talking about who was playing and trying to replicate what they did at school. It has a massive impact on kids around the community. I think that’s why Billy is such a great role model as a coach because he understands that.
"It was Darren Lockyer for me. I was a massive fan of him at Broncs. He did a lot of great things for Queensland. Obviously here there’s a lot of blokes who are legends of the game… he’s just one of them, Locky. Majority of them are in the coaching staff, which is pretty crazy and surreal for a lot of kids coming through the grades because they can live and breathe around such great legends of the state."
Munster said realising his dream of playing for the Maroons remained a buzz, despite having now run out for the Maroons 18 times.
"I have been fortunate enough to do that for several years now... every time I’ve been able to get into camp, it’s a privilege," FOG #192 said.
"I always cherish the moments I get to spend a lot of time with the guys I play against. But also, they’re really close friends as well. We have that bond and those memories that will last forever."
On the notion of being the Lockyer for so many children playing rugby league now, Munster said it was a privilege not lost on him.
"I didn’t really understand it all or realise the impact that I had on kids probably until the last three of four years," Munster said.
"I think understanding the game is bigger than us, that’s one of the reasons why we do a lot of community work around Queensland... just to make young kids believe because as a young kid, I never thought I’d play for Queensland, let alone rub shoulders with some of the greats of our game.
"I've done that now. To inspire the next generation coming through is exciting.
"We’ve got players at the moment playing out of their skin and coming through the grades, which is exciting for us. I feel like Queensland is in a great place, which is really pleasing to see."
When it comes to Munster's favourite Origin moments of all time, he did not hesitate.
Munster's top five Origin moments
1. Lockyer scoring “that try” in 2006
"Number one is obviously Darren Lockyer scoring that try in 2006 to create that dynasty. I think that’s a pretty easy pick. I was at home watching in the lounge room. I didn’t realise the significance of it. But now when you have Locky and some of the greats talk about it… I didn’t know this, but there was talk it could’ve been his last Origin game if they didn’t win the Origin series because they were already down two in a row in Origin. It's crazy. I didn’t know too much about the news or press, but I didn’t realise that moment until Locky spoke to us about how it started, what it looked like for our leaders. Just shows when a Queenslander’s back is against the wall, they often thrive. He definitely thrived that night and he can sit there and tell the tale of the start of one of the greatest Origin dynasties the game has ever seen."
2 - Lockyer starts the streak
2. Collins jumping up for the ball in 2023
"My second moment would have to be Lindsay Collins jumping up for that bomb and giving me a try. That’s something that will go down in Origin folklore. A front rower jumping over someone who plays fullback. It probably hasn’t been seen for a long time. I was there and when I saw it I was still trying to come to terms with what happened. It all happened so quickly. I just remember him getting up and getting down and throwing out the back… it just hit me perfectly on the chest and I was thinking to myself “don’t drop it, don’t drop it”. I caught it and the rest is history. That was pretty special."
Lindsay Collins: ‘It’s a bit of a blur at the moment’
3. Thurston’s kick in 2017
"Johnathan Thurston’s kick in 2017… with his shoulder, he was battered and bruised. Back for Game II due to the fact that Anthony Milford was injured and they had no one else to play. I wasn’t ready enough at the time. He kicked the game winner to settle it and go down to a decider in 2017. I was fortunate enough to play the next game. I don’t think it would’ve been even a chance to do that if it wasn’t for JT. That’s another moment for me."
9 - JT's clutch conversion
4. Slater’s chip and chase
"Fourth for me would have to be Billy Slater’s chip and chase. That was pretty special. Obviously Darren Lockyer put the grubber through, Bill regathered it, kicked it over Minichiello and beat him to the ball. I remember watching that at home. That was something pretty special."
6 - Slater's try lights up the cauldron
5. The 2020 Origin series
"My last one would have to be… it wasn’t an individual moment, more a team collective, but I reckon it would have to be 2020. I think for us going into that series, Wayne Bennett obviously took the team over, no one gave us a chance… underdog team… that was a turning point for us as a group, knowing that we can go toe-to-toe with some of the best in the competition. The 2020 Origin team."