Maroons debutant Corey Allan has credited his South Sydney teammate and recent Blues star Latrell Mitchell for his stunning elevation to the State of Origin arena.
The 22-year-old has been named on the wing for the series decider at Suncorp Stadium but it was his silky skills at fullback after Mitchell suffered a season-ending injury that lifted the former Bronco into the Origin frame. Mitchell's advice and encouragement was a major factor behind Allan handling the fullback position with aplomb
"Trell had a big influence," Allan said on Sunday before Maroons training.
"He is only 23 but has won two premierships. He helped me with all the little things. He knows how to throw the best ball you can, he can hit a winger from 50 metres.
"Every little thing I was learning from him. He was showing me what to look for when defenders are shutting, all the little things that help you on the footy field.
"It is pretty interesting. It would be funny if Trell was playing for the Blues because I can't take him seriously. We muck around all the time."
Maroons call for sold-out Suncorp to get them home
Mitchell has been in regular contact with Allan, mostly about fishing, but he has also sent a message of support.
"He has wished me well and said he is immensely proud and I deserve it [Origin selection]. He has loved watching me progress as a player," Allan said.
"He loves fishing and I'm really big into fishing. We are always showing each other fish that have been caught and saying we're going to go out and catch them ourselves."
The Maroons could yet switch fullback Valentine Holmes with Allan on game day. The team runs have been off-limits to the media and Allan chuckled when asked if he was set to take the field in the custodian role.
"I'm named on the wing," Allan grinned.
"The plan right now is to focus on coming up against Addo-Carr. That's my main focus. We'll see how training pans out.
"I don't think [playing fullback] would trouble me too much, I've been playing it all year.
"I was getting more confident [at Souths] with every game and learning a lot from Cody [Walker] and Reno [Adam Reynolds]. Latrell was still in the background helping me a lot, messaging me.
"I wouldn't say wing is too much easier than fullback. There's a lot of pressure decision making out there.
"You have to trust your own instinct, that's a big thing Trell taught me… that usually your first thought is your best thought. Don't overthink it too much."
Holmes hoping fans can help Maroons over the line
Getting his Maroons call-up from his Souths coach Wayne Bennett thrilled Allan after he developed so much under the mastercoach's tutelage this year.
"It has been a dream and I'm still trying to process it. It's crazy, I can't believe I'm actually playing," Allan said.
"I was happy playing a couple of games for Souths this year and trying to earn my stripes. I was lucky enough to get a call. I'm over the moon.
"I love Wayne. He is a good coach. Anyone that's under him will say that they love him, because he's such a good bloke, he knows how to get the best out of his players.
"He is great with my home life, always checking in and making sure everyone is all right. At training he is always working on the little things that can better you, the same as Latrell helping me.
"Wayne is always there. He's done it all and trained the best. He knows what he's talking about."
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 3 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Allan said Bennett had simplified his role on Wednesday night to "making my catches and running the ball hard" while also being more aware of NSW Nathan Cleary's silky kicking game.
"We've got to identify Cleary early, he is the main kicker," Allan said.
"When he is kicking, the wingers are flat, not in shape for running. We'll know when the kick's coming.
"We've got to read that a bit better, get on the front foot and continue."
Allan also addressed a media report that said he might be on his way out of the Rabbitohs next year
"I am at Souths next year," he said
"When I saw that [report] I was a bit shocked. I called my manager and said 'what the **** is going on?'."
Game three tickets are selling fast. Be a part of the largest crowd in the world since lockdown!