Jake Turpin will be inspired by memories of his idol Darren Lockyer when he wears the Broncos number six jersey for the first time against the Sharks on Sunday.
The off-contract 22-year-old is also edging closer to securing a Brisbane extension with coach Anthony Seibold keen to keep Turpin at the club beyond 2019.
With Darius Boyd returning to fullback against Cronulla and Anthony Milford injured, Seibold has backed Turpin to do the job in the halves.
Turpin has played his eight NRL games to date as a hooker or bench utility but is no stranger to the playmaking role after enjoying three seasons in the halves at Ipswich Brothers as a junior.
Turpin was a nine-year-old in 2006 when Lockyer was enjoying one of his best seasons ever in the number six jersey on the way to a Broncos premiership, Maroons series win and Tri-Nations victory, the same season he was Dally M five-eighth of the year and representative player of the year.
Turpin has to pinch himself to think that he is now in the same jersey worn by Wally Lewis, Anthony Milford and premiership-winners Kevin Walters, Ben Ikin and Lockyer.
Sharks v Broncos - Round 16
"There have been some pretty big names at the Broncos play in the six. Bloody hell. It is really exciting for me," Turpin said.
"[Lockyer] was my favourite player growing up. He was the king when I was growing up so he was definitely someone I watched in the juniors. He was getting Dally M [awards] … so I am really excited to wear the jersey that Darren Lockyer played in so it is pretty special.
"I haven’t had much to do with Locky. I see him around the club to say hello to him. I definitely do get starstruck. I am a bit of a 'fan girl' when Locky walks past me."
Turpin said he was a "laid back" character off the field but on it he has displayed toughness, skill and a competitive edge that has won over Seibold.
There are reports that the Bulldogs and Warriors are interested in prising Turpin away from the club but the Broncos remain front-runners.
"Jake doesn’t want to go anywhere. We have had some really positive discussions," Seibold said.
"We have tidied up some other contracts that we needed to get done. We will have some good announcements in the near future. I am really confident we will keep Jake unless someone comes and blows us away with a really good offer. Jake is a Brissie boy and doesn’t want to go anywhere and we really want to keep him. He is 22 and I think he is a really good footy player who has got so much potential."
Seibold denies dumping Boyd rumours as baby Broncos emerge
Turpin said he was happy at the club and would let his contract matters unfold in the coming months.
"I haven’t really gone too much into it. I am really happy to be playing first grade and pinching myself each week. That is up to me and my manager to talk about later but I am happy to be at the Broncos now and really enjoying it," he said.
"It always is pretty flattering [to have interest] but I have worked hard. I have had a few injuries myself and finally played regular first grade. It will all work out if I play good footy."
It won’t just be the Lockyer influence that keeps him at Brisbane either.
"We have got good people here, not just Locky around the club. Macca [Andrew McCullough] was my favourite player towards the end of time at Melbourne so I have good players all around me that will influence me to stay," Turpin said.
Broncos to unleash the X
"I just want to keep playing regular first grade and prove to Seibs that I can be consistent each week."
Another factor playing into Turpin’s confidence to do the job against the Sharks is that he learned off one of the best halves in the game during his stint at the Storm.
"I was really fortunate to have a player like Cooper Cronk down there when I was playing half so I definitely learned a lot just watching what he would do at training. He is one of the best I have seen come through the NRL," he said.
"I will go out there this weekend knowing I will do my role for Seibs and that I will do it to the best of my ability."