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Maroons centre Brenko Lee.

After a teenage Brenko Lee made a few mistakes on debut for Canberra in 2014, Jack Wighton was quick to back his then-teammate.

"Everyone remembers the errors, but the great dummy-half runs and the runs he took in our yardage were unbelievable," Wighton said following Lee's maiden game - a 22-14 loss to the Bulldogs.

Both men have emerged stronger from adversity in recent years. They're now set to go head-to-head in Wednesday's Ampol State of Origin series opener at the Adelaide Oval.

Lee has been named to earn his first Queensland cap and, despite suffering a groin strain at training on Tuesday, is expected to play right centre - directly opposite Dally M Medal winner Wighton, who cemented himself on NSW's left edge last year.

The pair formed a friendship during Lee's Raiders stint from 2013-16.

"I love Brenks. He is a good kid. [That] all boils down to nothing on Wednesday night though," Wighton, 27, said on Monday.

"[His time at Canberra was] so long ago, he's evolved and come a long way. You take nothing out of that and play it by ear.

"He's always been the same kid and always had the talent, everyone knows that."

Blues v Maroons - Origin I

Wighton has enjoyed 25-year-old Lee's "cracker" journey of being uncontracted this time last year after parting ways with the Titans to becoming a Storm premiership winner and Origin player.

"He's always been chasing his tail. He's had a few little downfalls here and there so it's definitely been a good story this year," Wighton said.

"I can only speak from when he was down there with us, but he has always been a good kid."

NSW centre Jack Wighton.
NSW centre Jack Wighton. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

Lee could be staring across at another familiar face in Adelaide with his Melbourne teammate Josh Addo-Carr on the Blues' left wing.

"He's had a great season, obviously winning the premiership ... He's just reaping those rewards," Addo-Carr said of Lee, adding that he was most impressed by his defensive development in 2020.

"Obviously Craig [Bellamy, Storm coach] prides himself on what the team does in defence and [Lee] has improved a lot in that area."

Elsewhere, Wighton indicated he may be given a licence to "roam" and said it's been a smooth transition back to centre after completing his second season as Canberra's five-eighth.

"I just play what I see, if I have to roam I have to roam and if not I am just doing my job," he said.

"As long as I am doing my main job I will be happy ... We've been doing some good work this week, getting to know my half and winger. 

"The comms are good, a lot of defensive work. So I'm feeling good about the game."

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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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