Oates made for Origin
"I don't think I'll ever get a compliment off Wayne. I really don't."
It's this tough love from Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett that has seen Corey Oates go from a lanky country boy to a Queensland Origin player in a matter of 18 months.
Bennett may have not yet complimented Oates since returning to the club in 2015, but the master coach has brought out the best in the 21-year-old, with Oates enjoying his best season and a half of football yet, cementing his position on Brisbane's wing.
But Bennett is not the only person Oates can thank, with the Baralaba Panthers junior owing a lot to his loving parents Warren and Jeanette.
The two used to drive Oates and his teammates around central Queensland to and from their games, with the round trip at times clocking up over 500km.
It's something Oates looks back on fondly, admitting that he wouldn't be where he is today without their help.
"The trips with the parents could vary from an hour to several hours. There were some fair trips out there," Oates said.
"They had to wait the whole day pretty much whenever they took me to footy because they drove the bus full of everyone. They'd always swap over the driving each way.
"It was basically a bus with all the players from the whole town so they did a lot of work for all of us kids.
"They were so happy when they found out about my selection. I'm obviously happier, but my parents would think they are. They are happy that all the money they spent on me when I was a kid is worth it in the end."
Oates's childhood consisted of participation in any sport he could involve himself with, but it wasn't long until he discovered that rugby league was meant for him.
He went on to make his first Queensland team in under 15's after trialling at centre but being selected at fullback.
This effort was followed up with selection in the Queensland under 20's team when he was just 17 years old, and it was clear then the talent Oates possessed.
"I started playing when I was four or five. I've always played sports since I was a little kid," he said.
"I never thought I'd be here doing this. You always dream of stuff like this and say you want to do it but don't think it can happen.
"Dad played footy when he was in school and I watched my brother play footy. It made me always want to do the same thing."
Oates didn't just grow up watching his brother play footy, but also the Queensland greats he now calls his teammates.
The likes of Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Nate Myles all debuted for Queensland when Oates was still in primary school, and he still can't believe he will be taking the field with these greats of the game come Game One on June 1st.
"It is weird. You don't ever really expect it. I didn't expect to be playing with the Broncos, let alone for Queensland," he said.
"It's been an honour to be selected and it really is unbelievable. I see all the players around me and I never even dreamt of playing with them."