White drawing on Origin 'mongrel'
On a symbolic level, Brett White’s dramatic stoush with Steve Price in State of Origin III has turned his career around.<br><br>The Melbourne enforcer is quick to point out he’s not condoning on-field violence, but being the last man standing at Suncorp Stadium has resurrected White’s self-belief.<br><br>Watching Origins I and II from his couch had the NSW firebrand questioning whether he ever even deserved to pull on his State’s colours.<br><br>In 2007 and 2008 he lost consecutive series with the Blues and the selectors had sought out a new prop rotation.<br><br>Theoretically Game Three was a dead rubber, but when White was called up, it became an unexpected chance to bury his mental demons and reinvigorate his season.<br><br>Standing toe to toe with Price was the embodiment of it all.<br><br>“It certainly showed the passion that is in Origin and everyone is now waiting for next year’s series to come around,” White says. “I’m not saying the fight is a wonderful thing, but to play in a game where there is so much passion and everyone lives or dies by Origin is a wonderful thing.<br><br>“I know that a lot of people said before that we’d lost our passion and just to show that we have that passion instilled a lot of confidence. <br> <br>“I had doubts about myself and I know a lot of other people did with me playing at Origin level.<br><br>“The doubt came with the record we had before that game. We didn’t have too many wins and you start to doubt yourself and your ability. To come into that game and get that win was a real confidence-booster. I was happy with that game. It put a lot of confidence back into me and it’s always a good thing for players to play with confidence.”<br><br>The other mental scar that football has left on White is last year’s 40-0 grand final loss to Manly. Rival front-rower Brent Kite was the Clive Churchill Medal Winner and the Sea Eagles pack humiliated the Melbourne forwards. <br><br>If White has learnt anything from the failures he’s had in his career, it’s to seize the day. <br><br>“You don’t miss your opportunities. When you’re in games like that you put it all out there,” he says.<br><br>“When I was watching Origin I and II this year all I could think was that I’d missed my opportunities. <br><br>“Just knowing that those big games, they don’t come around very often. You’ve got to go out and make the most of it. <br><br>“You try not to think about (last year’s grand final) too much. It was a very hard day for all involved down here… but that was last year and you can’t dwell on those things. You’ve got to move forward and learn from mistakes and use them to make you better.”<br><br>While the focus this Friday night will be on the battle between fullbacks Brett Stewart and Billy Slater, keep an eye on the engine room as well.<br><br>It’s a character trait of front-rowers to take things personally and White will be looking to regain the upper hand against Manly, who in two seasons have become the Storm’s fiercest rivals.<br><br>“You certainly don’t want any team to get over you, but especially when it’s one of your so-called rival teams. It just makes it that much more meaningful,” he declares.<br><br>“I don’t know so much about having something to prove but we certainly know there’s been a wonderful rivalry between the two clubs.<br><br>“They’re going really well. George Rose and Brent Kite are really starting front-rowers and to have them coming off the bench just shows they’re the form pack in the competition.<br><br>“Most big games are won in the forwards.”<br><br>White endured a tough start to his season after being kept out of the early rounds with severe arthritis in his big toe. <br><br>While it was frustrating at the time, White is now benefiting by being fresher at this stage of the season. <br><br>For a change Melbourne hasn’t won the minor premiership and haven’t been at their clinical best, but White insists they’re in prime position to strike in the finals.<br><br>“We knew things would be different this year. We just needed to neutralise and rebuild again,” he says.<br><br>“We’re actually sitting in a good spot. We don’t feel like we’ve got a lot of pressure on us this year.”