England half at home in Locky's house
England halfback Matty Smith has revealed how the pages of Darren Lockyer's autobiography have helped to calm his nerves and find his place in the England squad ahead of his Test debut against Samoa on Saturday evening.
Fittingly Smith will earn his first full cap for England at the stadium once owned by 'The King' before being passed on to Lockyer where he will partner Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop in the England halves in the opening match of the Four Nations tournament.
A tourist with Wigan for the World Club Challenge at the start of the year, Smith said that he has been a long-time admirer of Lockyer's and that the demeanour the Queensland and Australia great displayed on so many occasions - including in a record 59 Tests for Australia - is something he hopes to emulate.
"Of the Aussies Darren Lockyer is my favourite player," Smith told NRL.com. "I read his book and he's not the loudest character and that's probably me as well.
"I tend to let other people be the class clowns and I just come in and do me job and work hard so I grew up watching Darren Lockyer, he was one of my favourite players."
To draw another comparison with a Queensland great, Smith's style is most easily compared to Kangaroos half Cooper Cronk, an organisational type more content to be the director of highlight reels than to be the star of the show himself.
"Me best attributes are probably my organisation, me kicking game, getting the team around the park, that's what I've done pretty well for Wigan, and just being solid," he said.
"Hopefully defending well and just being a solid player and I think that's probably what England needs at the minute. We don't really need the flash players we just need to be consistent, complete, kick long and just go toe-to-toe with Australia."
Man of the match in Wigan's Challenge Cup Final win in 2013, Smith trod a long and winding road before arriving at the Super League powerhouse, unable to crack a St Helens team that boasted the likes of Sean Long, Keiron Cunningham and Paul Sculthorpe as a young player coming through.
Although he played 20 games for St Helens between 2006 and 2010, Smith played the majority of Super League games early in his career while on loan to Widnes, the Celtic Crusaders and then Salford, the Red Devils finally offering him a two-year deal in 2011.
A move to Wigan followed in 2013 and when a four-year deal was placed in front of him by the Warriors in September, the 27-year-old saw it as an offer too good to refuse.
"I'd have liked to [have played in the NRL] but just signing a four-year deal with Wigan that's where my future lies," Smith said.
"I come through St Helens from when I was a young bloke and I don't think you ever want to leave your home-town club but at the point I was behind Sean Long and I was ready to play.
"Going on loan and going to them lower clubs and doing it tough where we weren't winning many games has probably helped me at this stage where I am now. Being at Wigan I respect it a little bit more and a great club so I think I've done it the tough way but it's definitely helped me as a person and a player."
And wearing the No.7 for the glamour club of the Super League following in the footsteps of the likes of Shaun Edwards and Andy Gregory has also prepared him for what awaits him in the Test arena.
"The history behind the club and the people who have played especially in my position, the likes of Shaun Edwards and Andy Gregory and people like that who have all toured with Great Britain, there is quite a bit of pressure but I think it's a good pressure," said Smith, who has formed a formidable combination with Storm-bound Blake Green over the past two years.
"I've managed to play well the last two years with that added pressure on me but this is a different pressure. This is playing for your country against the best of the best in the world so it's going to be tough but I'm at that stage of my career now where I'm 27, I'm playing well for my club so the next step is to play well for your country and I think I'm ready to do that."