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Maroons centre Lauren Brown.

She's the self-confessed Broncos and Queensland tragic who idolises Darren Lockyer and makes a living out of walking clients' dogs around the Gold Coast.

But for Lauren Brown, who spent three years in Sydney pursuing the rugby sevens dream, the Maroons' latest debutant is just happy to be home.

She's mixed her newfound love for rugby league with her passion for dogs by starting her own doggy day-care and walking business.

The demand had her walking between 18 and 25 kilometres per day prior to entering the Broncos and Maroons bubbles over the past two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qld Maroons v NSW Women

"I just got the idea from when I was living in Sydney because I couldn't bring my border collie down as I was living in a small apartment," Brown told ahead of State of Origin on Friday night.

"I can organise it around my own commitments and there seems to be a need for dog walking, especially with COVID and people going back to work after staying home all year.

"That's where I can come in and help. I thought of just dog walking and now it's turned into doggy day-care, dog sitting and house sitting.

"I also do pick up and drop off and have got a small Hyundai i30 so there's sometimes one dog in the front seat, three in the back seat and a couple in the boot.

"And they've all got seatbelts … if you're looking into the car at a set of lights or something you're probably thinking 'who is this fruit loop'."

On the footy field, Brown was lost to rugby league as a 12-year-old but returned this year, along with NSW utility and close friend Yasmin Meakes, after being let go by Rugby Australia's sevens program.

She reached out to Maroons teammate Tallisha Harden shortly after, who encouraged her to join the Burleigh Bears in Queensland's Holcim Cup.

"When I was young all I watched was league … I lived and breathed it," Brown said.

"I picked up soccer, touch footy and surf lifesaving before the opportunity for sevens but I'd never played rugby union before, it was always league, I just never had an opportunity to pursue it.

"I never would've imagined that at the end of 2020 I would've been playing league but I'm stoked with how it ended up.

"I'm not going anywhere now, hopefully, I stay fit and healthy and keep growing and learning in the game."

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Unfortunately, we all can’t be a Queenslander ❤️ #upthemaroons #yayayippeeyippeeya

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Brown will start in the unfamiliar centre position for the Maroons on Friday night but has proven to be more than capable with her versatility after stints in on the wing and at hooker this year.

In the short-term, the 25-year-old is happy to bide her time but would prefer to chase a halves spot in the NRLW down the track to explore her kicking game.

As for her obsession with Lockyer, Brown said it dates back to her childhood watching the former Maroons legend.

The bubble scenario prevented the pair from meeting while Brown played for the Broncos this season. 

"I feel like it'd be awkward now to meet him because all the girls know how much I love him," she said.

"I've heard he's a good guy through the grapevine so just to go have a kick with him would be pretty unreal.

"I just loved him as a player, the Broncos were my team and I followed him in any team he played for. His kicking game, control and leadership and how calm he is."

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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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