Nathan Brown's only opportunity to wear the NSW sky blue as a junior came in cricket, not rugby league.
The Eels lock will make his State of Origin debut off the bench on Wednesday and he is expected to bring his trademark aggression.
And while he grew up enthralled by the "biff" that often broke out in Origin matches, Brown has a simple plan against Queensland.
"I just want to be me, be Nathan Brown. I don't want to go out there and try too hard, I just have to be me and do what's best for the team, and do those one percenters," the forward said on Saturday.
"I just need to simplify it. I need to be me. I need to be Nathan Brown, and trust myself and back myself and the rest will take care of itself.
"Being me solves everything. That aggression and whatnot, it comes off the back of being myself.
"You're playing for your state so you have to play with that heart."
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Brown represented NSW Residents in 2014, but before that he opened the batting for the Blues under-17s side in the 2009/10 summer.
The left-hander, who "gave up footy for about a year and a half" to focus on cricket, didn't play the sport like he does league.
"I wasn't really aggressive, I just had a bit of technique," he said.
"I played both sports since I was five. Patty Cummins was my [17s] opening bowler and he was probably the same pace he is now, it was pretty scary. Kurtis Patterson was my captain.
"We had a good little team."
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After game one's 18-14 defeat in Adelaide, NSW coach Brad Fittler was forced to tweak his team with back-rowers Boyd Cordner (head knock) and Cameron Murray (hamstring) ruled out of the series.
Fittler is confident in what Brown can provide the Blues – mongrel.
"That's how he plays. It's not as though we need to add that but it's what he brings," he said.
"We feel like we need some more in the middle. I think Payne [Haas] and a few of the boys know how to play big minutes. So it allows you to maybe bring someone on for some impact."
Brown was suspended twice in the 2020 NRL season, but Fittler won't instruct the Parramatta star to tone things down.
"I'll leave it up to him. He told us last night he has matured and is more sensible. So we'll see," Fittler said.
Brown added: "Back in my younger days I was probably a bit immature in regards to my football, I didn't have that balance with aggression.
"I was ill-disciplined, and it took me a few games to find that balance. Now I think I've matured."
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Still, Brown has always been attracted to the rough side of the game.
"I liked a bit of the biff, that was always cool watching it as a young kid," he said of his Origin memories.
"You always knew when you came home from school on the Wednesday night there was going to be a bit of a scuffle. You always looked forward to a bit of excitement."
Game two tickets start from $45 for members and $49 for general public or get your wig and experience the Blatchy’s effect from $85 for members or $90 for the general public