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Pat Carrigan after his NRL debut.

Pat Carrigan calls the seven words tattooed on his right forearm in minuscule print his "little barcode".

The words may be small in size, but they carry plenty of meaning for the 22-year-old prop.

They're words harkened to by many who have been striving to reach great heights since first uttered by US President Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 at the Sorbonne University in Paris. had been told that Carrigan has been starring in the pre-season and went to find out more, before catching a glimpse of the tattoo.

"It says 'it is not the critic who counts' and is a saying from Theodore Roosevelt and something that used to get told to us as kids from mum," Carrigan explained.

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"It is from 'The Man in the Arena' speech and a quote about how at the end of the day the admiration is always with someone who went out there and put it all on the line and gave their best, as opposed to someone who didn't have a go and sat back and knocked someone.

"I am not one to get full tattooed up. It is my little barcode."

When asked about the rest of Roosevelt's speech, Carrigan grinned and said should check it out.

The speech, initially entitled "Citizenship in a Republic" has been the subject of numerous books and articles in newspapers including The New York Times

Pat Carrigan at Brisbane training.
Pat Carrigan at Brisbane training. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

The most famous and repeated words of the speech by Roosevelt include the following: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly ... who does actually strive to do the deeds."

It is easy to understand why the speech appeals to Carrigan. He has put himself firmly "in the arena" on and off the field.

On it, he puts his body on the line in the engine room. Off it, he is completing a degree in physiotherapy at the University of Queensland.

Roosevelt goes on to talk about the man in the arena as one who "knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause". Carrigan is living those words as a professional rugby league player.

It comes as no surprise that last September he was back at the Red Hill training base the week after the Broncos got knocked out of the finals.

It is not the critic who counts

The words inscribed on Pat Carrigan's arm

"I am pretty bad at sitting still so I came back in a bit early and ticked the body over. We had no full-time commitments as such, so I used a bit of time to work on some speed and a couple of other things," Carrigan said.

On November 1, when the club's pre-season training officially commenced, the former Queensland under 20s captain ramped up his preparation.

In his debut season last year Carrigan - who is signed until the end of 2022 - made a name for himself as a reliable workhorse in the middle who plays big minutes and does all the "one percenters" a team needs.

After analysing his game, he identified an area he needed to improve.

"I have always had a good aerobic base and played longer minutes but this year I want to back myself more and work on the speed parts of my game,” he said.

"We have some quick forwards like David Fifita and Payne Haas, who have got some crazy explosiveness so if I can tweak that a bit hopefully it will help me this year."

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Carrigan, Haas, Fifita and Thomas Flegler all made their debuts within 12 months of each other and are a band of brothers in the Broncos forwards.

"They are three of my best mates. Dave and Payno are probably trailblazing for the four of us and it is really exciting times for the club," Carrigan said.

"One of the reasons I wanted to stay at the Broncos was because of the depth we have here, and with guys like Joffa [Joe Ofahengaue] and Matt Lodge there are some impressive younger guys."

Carrigan's brain is getting a solid workout away from the field where he is just about to complete the third year of a physiotherapy degree.

Last year he was the third University of Queensland student in more than a century to be awarded a full sporting Blue for rugby league – recognising both sporting and educational excellence.

Carrigan is well aware of the uncertain nature of a rugby league career after former Broncos star Jharal Yow Yeh, who now works at the club, was forced into retirement in 2012 through injury when his career was in the ascendancy.

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"I didn't know much about the [Blue] award until I read the history of it and I was honoured. It is a nice little achievement.

"The degree is something I want to keep ticking off. Jharal is a good example at the club for us young fellas of someone who was 23 and one of the top wingers in the game ... but then things can change just like that for you," Carrigan said.

"The goal is to have a long career in the game but if I can have that [profession] to fall back on, if anything was to go south then I will be a long way ahead of where I would be."

Dave and Payno are probably trailblazing for the four of us

Carrigan on Brisbane's young forwards

Carrigan's immediate goal is to take the Broncos back to premiership glory, and pronto.

"It has been pretty well publicised that we weren't happy with where we finished last year but we are all better for the experience. We want to repay, not only the fans and stakeholders of the club, but also each other," he said.

"We have got some big ambitions as a group and where we want to go in 2020. You don’t come back in November to run out and just place. You want to win a comp."

Carrigan is well on track to fulfil the rest of the key parts of Roosevelt's speech, as a man ensconced in the arena "who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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