Broncos teenager David Fifita wrote down a representative goal for this year. It is to play for the Queensland Maroons.
Based on the 18-year-old forward's record of success at hitting the targets he sets, that aspiration is well within his grasp.
Last year Fifita was the first player in history born in the 2000s to play in the NRL when he lined up in 11 games for the Broncos. He wants to continue that trend but also has other fish to fry.
"I always set goals and at the start of the pre-season I wrote down that to play Origin this year for Queensland and to play round one for the Broncs were my goals," Fifita told NRL.com at the Emerging Maroons camp.
"I've been setting goals ever since I was 15 and every time I set the goals they have come true. I love to write them on the notepad on my phone, and look at them."
With regard to his goal setting, Fifita said it was making the Queensland under 15 side that won the Australian Secondary Schools Championships in 2015 that "kicked it all off".
After captaining that side he then ticked off all the other goals on his bucket list.
Firstly, making the Australian under 15 merit side and then playing for the Murri under 16s and Queensland under 16s and under 18s teams, all of which he captained.
My next goal to hopefully put the Maroons jersey on ... hopefully the opportunity will comeEmerging Maroons forward David Fifita
On his hit list was playing for Keebra Park High School's top side and making the Australian Schoolboys, all of which he achieved.
Mal Meninga played under 18s for Souths during his first year in the Brisbane Rugby League and by the end of the season was a permanent fixture in the side, but QRL officials believe Fifita made history in 2018 when he played Mal Meninga Cup under 18s and Intrust Super Cup (both for Souths-Logan), and NRL for the Broncos, all in the same year.
Fifita isn't getting ahead of himself. His mother Gwen, who would regularly drive Fifita when a schoolboy to catch the 4.57am train in Brisbane to attend Keebra Park training on the Gold Coast, will see to that.
"It was a memorable year 2018, but that is behind me and I have to focus on 2019 now," Fifita said.
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"The Broncos staff and all the boys keep me grounded, and my parents. It is my mum mainly. She is the reason why I do everything. There were some hard times growing up and she has always been by my side and driving me to training. So long as she is happy, I'm happy.
"Coming up through all the Queensland teams I always say it is a stepping stone ... from the 15s, 16s, 18s and now here. To be in camp just shows what a good system it is and I am grateful to be part of it.
"My next goal to hopefully put the Maroons jersey on is going to be hard to do with the boys in front of me but if I can keep training hard one day hopefully the opportunity will come."
Queensland coach Kevin Walters said Fifita's drive and attitude were outstanding and was pleased to hear about his Maroons aspirations for 2019.
"I wouldn't back against him. David wants to achieve things and is very ambitious and that is a great attitude to have," Walters told NRL.com.
"We all have goals and aspirations and David saying he wants to play State of Origin this year is a good thing. It shows he wants to get better, and he needs to get better."
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Fifita knows there are other hungry back-rowers in the race to play for the Maroons. He sees two of them – Jaydn Su'A and Matt Gillett – at training each day and they have been "real helpful".
He has already taken on board Walters's advice to "be better".
He is determined to get his fitness levels up in the pre-season. It is no surprise he has set a concrete goal to improve in this area, to get his 1.2km time trial run down under five minutes.
Walters said Fifita's progression was a credit to Fifita and the Maroons' pathway system.
"Some boys have the talent but drift away around that 18 age-group but he is staying hard at it," Walters said.
"There are always kids with a lot of ability but David has the right attitude to get him to that next level each time. I worked with him last year at the Broncos where his attitude was impressive, and likewise again on the weekend.
"It also shows that we have got the right systems in place for players to come through and develop.
"It is not always left up to the NRL clubs but we also have to play a role in that as well in providing some camps and information, and also the drive to get through all those under age Queensland sides into Emerging Origin and then into State of Origin."
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