Mango moment fuels Origin hopefuls
They share a deep passion to one day represent the Maroons but only one is a realistic chance of re-enacting the magic Matt Bowen moment that both Dane Gagai and Dave Tyrrell proudly recall as their favourite Origin memory.
As a skinny winger for the Easts Tigers coming through the grades, Tyrrell perhaps considered he could one day emulate Bowen's game-winning intercept try in the opening match of the 2005 Origin Series but now the Rabbitohs' prop forward is simply happy to get across the stripe.
Gagai, on the other hand, could still write his name into Origin folklore with some wide-out pilfering of possession from the opposition but both men said a call-up to the Queensland team for the 2105 Series would be a cherished memory in itself.
Tyrrell and Gagai have spent the weekend in Brisbane as part of the 17-man squad invited into the Queensland Emerging Origin camp as Maroons legends Wayne Bennett and Mal Meninga continue to usher in the next generation of Origin hopefuls.
A premiership winner with the Rabbitohs last year, Tyrrell was welcomed into the Queensland camp for the first time on Friday as a 100-plus kilogram front-rower, a far cry from the 16-year-old who watched on in wonder at Bowen's heroics a decade ago.
"I loved that Matty Bowen intercept, that was a classic, that's probably one of the earliest ones I remember," Tyrrell said as he immersed himself in the Queensland Origin culture.
"It's all a bit surreal, I still feel like I'm learning a lot as a front-rower. I've played there for a few years now but I still feel that at Souths and with opportunities like this I can learn a lot so I'm just taking everything in.
"I don't know mate, I've got to stop eating, get back on the wing," Tyrrell added, when asked of his transformation from the wing to the centre of the park.
Recruited to the Rabbitohs' inaugural under-20s team as a try-scoring flanker in 2008, Tyrrell never saw the wide open spaces again after making his NRL debut in 2009. In Round 21, 2011 he started in the front row for the first time in his career and credited the arrival of coach Michael Maguire to the club ahead of the 2012 season for his status as a starting member for the Rabbitohs in 39 of his past 45 games.
"When 'Madge' came to Souths. He said that this was where I was going to be so I said, 'Yep, righto, I'll do what I have to do'," said the 26-year-old. "I've just put my head down and done what I've had to do and just trying to pick things up wherever I can."
Gagai was just 14 when Bowen broke hearts all across New South Wales in 2005 but says the fondness for which he had for 'Mango' remains as he endeavours to force his way into the Queensland backline in coming years.
"Favourite Maroon growing up was Matty Bowen," Gagai recalled. "I loved watching Matty Bowen play, his speed, and when he got that interception to win the game... I loved watching him play as a kid, he was just an exciting player to watch.
"I used to love watching my league but Origin was definitely of the best. Just the rivalry between the two states and I just loved it, how aggressive and intense it was. It was just something I always dreamed of."