Murphy in frame at Broncos
He has done a lengthy apprenticeship and the stars may well have aligned for Todd Murphy to get his long-awaited crack at the NRL in the Broncos' top 17.
The 27-year-old half has been training at hooker during the pre-season as the Broncos get him up to speed to be able to play in the number 14 utility role or starting rake if required.
Ben Hunt and Benji Marshall, who both played the utility role as well as in the halves in 2017, have left the club.
Kodi Nikorima is set to step up into the halfback position and regular hooker Andrew McCullough is racing the clock to be ready for round one as he recovers from an ACL injury.
Murphy has emerged as a genuine chance to play in the early Telstra Premiership rounds on the back of his work at dummy half. He is a talented all-round halfback with a strong kicking game so has the credentials to make the transition to a number 14.
The former Shark was playing with the Norths Devils in the Intrust Super Cup last year and had just recovered from an ankle injury before breaking his collarbone playing against Ipswich.
Without a contract for 2018 he got a welcome tap on the shoulder from coach Wayne Bennett and told he had a one-year extension if he wanted it.
"I was in rehab for most of the year so I wasn't sure whether I would get another go, then Wayne came up to me in the gym and said he'd like to keep me for another year and I was stoked," Murphy told NRL.com.
"Wayne said there might be an opportunity at hooker, so I've been able to train there since the start of pre-season.
"There was an opportunity there with players leaving and we've got some good young halves coming through, so my best opportunity to play first grade would be at hooker so I'm trying to learn as much as I can.
"Macca is the incumbent hooker and a great number nine, and probably the next in line for Queensland as well, but he is injured at this stage so if the opportunity does arise hopefully I can step up."
Murphy grew up on the Sunshine Coast and moving to Brisbane to play Colts with Redcliffe.
He then played under 20s with the Broncos in 2009 and 2010 with the likes of McCullough and Josh McGuire before lining up with the Sunshine Coast and Norths Devils in the Intrust Super Cup.
He had a season at Cronulla in 2015 but is now back at the club he supported as a youth and keen to get the NRL chance he has long craved.
"In the Broncos 20s team that I came through there were around 15 that ended up playing first grade and only two or three of us didn't," Murphy said.
"So I have played with most of these blokes here and if the opportunity came around again it would be good.
"It is good watching your mates succeed at what they want to do so it hasn't been necessarily frustrating [not getting an NRL call-up].
"It is all about whether you are ready or not and I have been biding my time and training hard and I know if the opportunity does come I will be ready.
"I have worked as an electrician, so I know what it is like to work, but this sort of job [as a professional footballer] doesn't come around that often and it is something I always appreciate."
Murphy said he was enjoying the opportunity to learn a new craft at hooker and was improving with each week.
"In attack it is pretty easy and in defence it is not necessarily the workload but where you position yourself," he said.
"I am trying to get my head around that at the moment but we have been doing a lot of opposed stuff and that is really helping me. I feel as though I am growing in confidence with each training session."
While he has left the club now, Murphy said he gleaned plenty training alongside Marshall in 2017.
"The knowledge Benji gives is invaluable, just the little things that you don't pick up not playing at that level.
"There's his time with the ball, his professionalism and just being a good bloke as well around the club.
"He obviously stepped in to the [number 14] role and did a good job, and played in the halves as well. If I can do half the job he does it would be good."