Maroons debutant David Fifita has spoken of his unshakeable belief that he would realise his Origin goal this year after writing it down at the start of the season.
The 19-year-old told NRL.com in January that ever since he was 15 he had set goals for himself at the start of the season. He'd ticked them all off – from playing under 15s for Queensland in 2015 right through to playing NRL for the Broncos in 2018.
Now Fifita, who was presented with his jersey on Tuesday by one of his idols Petero Civoniceva, has ticked off another goal on his bucket list.
"I remember that interview at the start of the year where I said that one of my main goals this year was to play Origin," Fifita said after the 18-14 win over NSW at Suncorp Stadium.
"I always believed I would get here. I have faith in myself and Kevvie [Walters] gave me the opportunity and I grabbed it with both hands.
"He'd kept in touch with me during the year and said to just keep doing what I am doing.
"It came around really quick. This Maroon jersey means so much to me, just to represent family and friends and my state."
Fifita, who ran for 82m and made 12 tackles in his 27 minutes off the bench for the Maroons, was deep in conversation with Brisbane legend Steve Renouf in the Maroons sheds after the win.
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Renouf, who had called for Fifita to be selected in his NRL.com columns, said the Broncos teenager was a rare talent physically and mentally.
"The first time I met David Fifita I was very impressed with his mindset as a young fella," Renouf said.
"We used to write down our goals at the Broncos but we were told to do it, whereas David has done that himself off his own bat. He should be proud of himself.
"I know Kevin Walters is a massive fan of David's and one of the reasons why, asides from his talent and what he can bring to the table, is that unshakeable belief he has in himself.
"In his Origin debut age wise he was a child amongst men, but he stood up and mixed it with the best."
Fifita said he was a bundle of nervous energy before running out, but that only fed his desire.
"It was really good. I just wanted to get out there and do my job. I get nervous sometimes but I think that is good nerves and something I need," he said.
"Kevvie [Walters] set out a simple plan for me to run hard and tackle hard. That is something that I wanted to do for myself and for my family... I sit back and go 'Wow'. I've just got to embrace it.
"The speed was different to club football but I think all the adrenaline and emotion that I went through meant I was just happy to go out there do what I do."
Just 12 months ago Fifita was playing Mal Meninga Cup for Souths Logan in the under 18s competition before progressing to Intrust Super Cup and then to the Broncos. Last year he was captain of the Queensland under-18s side that lost to NSW so he was keeping a close eye on the result in the curtain raiser to his Origin debut, which went Queensland's way.
The honour of representing the Maroons hit home to Fifita the day before the game.
"Petero presented my jersey and that is something I will never forget," Fifita said.
"It happened on the day of captain's run – me, Joffa [Joe Ofahengaue] and Moses [Mbye] got presented with our jerseys by Petero, Justin Hodges and JT.
"Petero has been a great forward for Queensland, Australia and the Broncos as well. He is someone I look up to and that I can lean on and talk to. Shane Webcke spoke to me during the week as well about how I was going. They are Queensland legends."