Christian Welch has seen the two sides of Cameron Munster.
As two quarters of the infamous Melbourne Storm share house in Port Melbourne dubbed ‘The Porterhouse’, there are few secrets between the Maroons pair who grew up just an hour apart in Central Queensland.
The freewheeling way in which Munster approaches his rugby league has manifested itself in misdemeanors away from the footy field yet which would be considered commonplace for other men of his vintage.
But there is a side to Munster only those within the Storm’s inner sanctum get to see and why the 24-year-old thrown into the fullback role for the first time in the Origin arena for Wednesday night’s decider is considered the key to Queensland’s hopes not only this week, but for the next decade.
Beyond the larrikin with a porterhouse tattoo on his hip, Munster was inspired by family tragedy to become a committed ambassador for Diabetes Australia and is the undisputed king of the kids at AAMI Park.
"Cam does a fair bit of work with Diabetes Australia giving away boots every week to raise money so he's really good with that,” Welch tells NRL.com.
Blues v Maroons - Origin III
"One of Cam's biggest strengths is also how he interacts with young kids.
“All the young kids of the players and staff, he's the No.1 guy to go to. That's something that he's actually really, really good at, having fun with the little ones and interacting and connecting on that level with them. He's very popular.”
Maroons and Newcastle forward Tim Glasby first came across Munster when he was blooded into the Rockhampton-based CQ Capras in the Intrust Super Cup as a precocious teen with a point to prove.
Unaware that he was required to help unload the team bus upon their arrival at the ground, Munster was given a roasting that rattled the walls by coach John Harbin after the game but soon showed that he was a teammate who could be trusted.
"What you see is what you get with Munster,” Glasby says.
“The one thing that I will say about him that people probably don't get to see is that he has a real genuine care for his mates and his family.
"As much as he is a larrikin and jokes around he's just a real good person. He's just a real good bloke and has genuine care for those around him.
"One thing I've always known about him is that he's a real talent and he's a real gritty player. He works his backside off to get done whatever job he needs to do.
Meet Fissy and Fissy
"When I think of Cameron Munster I think of all the talent but the fact that he is also a real gritty and tough bloke to play with.”
It’s the mix of talent, toughness and care that gives his Maroons teammates complete faith in Munster’s move from five-eighth to fullback for the 2019 Holden State of Origin decider at ANZ Stadium.
Still smarting from a performance in game two that he admits was well below the standards he sets for himself, Munster is the game-breaker the Blues fear most.
His performance in the third game two years ago will go down as one of Origin’s greatest ever debuts.
Because of that, while ever the Maroons are in the contest and Munster is on the field, Queensland are a chance.
It’s why his former housemate is so looking forward to making his Origin debut alongside him.
"Originally it was just myself, Dean Britt and Joe Stimson who were living together,” Welch explains of their share house.
The Origin resurrection of Mitchell Pearce
“Munster had moved down and become a good mate of ours. We were weighing up whether to bring him into the fold and add another plate to the household.
"We were sitting around and we were asking him, 'Cam, what are you going to bring to the table? Are you going to cook? Are you going to clean? Will you organise all the bills and everything?'
"And all he said was, 'Boys, I'm just going to bring a bit of larrikin.' That defines Cameron Munster.
"He's a great mate and just a great character to have around. I consider him one of my best mates so it's going to be pretty special to run out for Queensland with Cameron.”