How Billy's helped the kid
As a kid growing up in Rockhampton with no belief that his footballing exploits would extend beyond the beef capital of Australia, even meeting Billy Slater seemed beyond Cameron Munster's wildest dreams.
But for the past six months he has been absorbing every last ounce of knowledge that the superstar fullback has been willing to share as the possibility of succeeding his idol at club and state level becomes more and more likely.
Initially joining the Storm on a two-year deal starting in 2014, Munster had his contract upgraded by coach Craig Bellamy after just one trial game against Canberra where he wore the injured Slater's No.1 jersey.
He is now signed up as a Storm player through to the end of the 2017 season and his selection in the Queensland Under-20s team for Saturday night's Under-20s Origin clash with New South Wales represents his first taste of elite representative football.
Since arriving at Melbourne at the end of 2013, Munster has been going to school on what Slater puts into his game each and every week and believes his influence has already begun to show in his own game.
"Billy's a big idol of mine. I love watching how he plays and how he trains," said Munster, who was most struck by how humble Slater was upon arriving at the Storm.
"He's given me a lot of pointers on how to get numbers right [in defence] and how to catch the ball at its highest point and stuff like that. He's improving my game a lot.
"I never thought I'd actually meet 'the big three' but to train alongside them and to train against them is the best feeling ever. They brought me in very well and I've settled in very well thanks to those boys.
"These boys are just like normal blokes but the big thing is his talk. He feels that if he doesn't talk enough during a game then he feels like he's let his teammates down. He's just told me to never shut up and keep helping the boys out and do my job."
Munster shot to prominence as an 18-year-old fullback with the Central Queensland Capras last year, winning the Intrust Super Cup Rookie of the Year award as well as scooping the pool at the club's awards night.
His wide array of attacking skills were given international exposure at the Auckland Nines in February and since moving back to the Storm's under-20s team he has split his time between fullback and five-eighth.
Canberra excitement machine Anthony Milford – the only member of the Queensland squad with NRL experience – will start at five-eighth on Saturday night while Cronulla's Valentine Holmes has been named at fullback, with Munster to start from the bench.
But a Queensland representative jersey – whatever number is on his back – is one of the most treasured possessions Munster ever could have hoped for.
"This is my first Queensland side to tell you the truth. I've never made Queensland [junior rep sides] at all so it's a big achievement and I'm very pumped to be putting the Queensland jersey on," he said.
"To tell you the truth, I never thought I was going to get this far. I thought I'd just be playing local league or for the Capras, maybe two games of Intrust Super Cup and then back to local footy for two games, but I never thought I'd play consistent footy.
"It's a massive achievement for me. I've always wanted to play for the Maroons and just watching some of these boys put the jersey on and wear it with pride... Words can't really describe how proud I am to actually be a Queenslander.
"I knew I needed to work a lot harder if I wanted to play alongside these boys and I felt that I have done the hard work and finally got here.
"Watching the Maroons run out in the Queensland jersey was a big dream of mine and I just can't believe it's happening at the moment."
As for his favourite Maroons Origin moment of all time, the game that started this extraordinary eight-year winning streak back in Game Three, 2006 is most prominent of all.
"Probably watching the last couple of seconds when Brett Hodgson threw that pass and it went along the ground and Darren Lockyer picked it up and scored underneath the posts," Munster recalled, who was all of 11 years of age at the time, and hasn't seen them lose a Series since.