Kangaroos interchange forward Nate Myles says he will have banked plenty of useful tips from his teammates before Friday night’s kick-off with New Zealand. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
Even after playing 20 State of Origins for Queensland and four Test matches, Nate Myles says he still learns something new when he goes into camp for a few days with superstars like Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk.
The list doesn't end there, of course. Add Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis and Paul Gallen from this week's Australian team, just to name a few more.
Myles is comfortable with any forward role except hooker, and that, combined with the fact he is in excellent form, made him an easy pick on the bench for Australia against New Zealand in the Test at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.
If you're smart, you're going to adopt a watch-and-learn brief when you're in close proximity to the quality of player Myles is talking about, no matter how experienced you might be yourself.
And, Myles says with a laugh, while he's not likely to be able to duplicate the dazzling moves of a star fullback like Slater, he can always pick up on something when it comes to attitude, and preparation.
"It's always a big advantage to be able to train and play with these guys," Myles said. "I still get blown away when I get the chance to live-in with guys of the calibre of Billy, and Cam, and Cooper for a week.
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"These are fantastic week-in, week-out players. You can always learn from them. I might see something, or hear them talk about something, that switches a light on.
"Every day, they push themselves. They are always trying to do everything the best they can, so there is definitely always something I can take from being around them.
"For the last few years, I've been learning a lot from Billy and the others, mainly in Origin camps. It's about attitude, and the way they approach everything.
"Since I joined the Titans my situation has become similar to the Melbourne guys in many ways, as well. I have to travel a lot for games, and they are very used to that. I've learned a lot from them about preparation and recovery.
"Even if it improves your game by just one per cent, it's important. Most teams are running pretty similar styles of play now, so if you can get an advantage in the way you prepare and recover it means a lot.
"It's going to be pretty hard for the game to get any faster than it is now, so recovery is probably the biggest factor in the competition now."
There are some people who think the Anzac Test should be dropped from the representative schedule because Australia keep winning it. The same people reckon the Kiwis will struggle without injured pair Benji Marshall and Sonny Bill Williams.
But Myles is adamant that to axe the game would be a backward step.
"It's important to give players opportunities like this to aim at," Myles said. "And from the players' point of view, the competitiveness of both sides is extraordinary, so we don't see it as anything like some people do.
"New Zealand have a lot of great players in their side. It's a fantastic side, with plenty of experience and a lot of players in really good touch, so we know we need to have a big week of preparation if we're going to win.
"We know what we're going to have to do when we get out there, but we're going to have to do it really well."
The Kiwis may not have won an Anzac Test since 1998, but the last three versions of it have been very competitive affairs. Australia won 12-8 in Melbourne in 2010, 20-10 on the Gold Coast in 2011 and 20-12 in Auckland last year.
Myles has played all four of his Tests in Australia, and is particularly keen to do well on Friday so as to boost his chances of being in the squad for the World Cup in the UK at the end of the season.
"Being picked for this game is obviously a positive step, so hopefully I can keep it going from here," he said. "I didn't play in the last World Cup and I'd love to go to Great Britain to play in one. That would really be something different."