Maroons debutant Moses Mbye intends to thank a laundry list of people who helped him achieve his dream of winning selection for Queensland, including former NSW halfback Brett Kimmorley.
In 2011 Kimmorley was working as a Canterbury halves coach and Mbye, when reflecting on moments and people that had led him to Maroons camp, pointed to when he was a 17-year-old at Noosa Pirates and seeking his big break.
"I went across the border for a camp with Noddy that Canterbury was hosting. He was the halfback [coach] at the time and identifying prospects. He saw something in me that he liked and I went down to the Dogs for 12 months and played SG Ball and ended up spending seven years there," Mbye said.
"There are so many people to thank. The journey is so big to get to this spot. When I got selected I got so many messages from people I haven’t spoken to in years. Everyone has played a part in getting me to where I am and it is so important to realise that. You’d love to thank everyone but you’d run out of ink."
Kimmorley is happy for ink to be used writing about the Wests Tigers skipper. He told NRL.com that Peter Mulholland and Troy Clarkson should take credit for identifying Moses when his own role was to coach the Bulldogs’ halves and up and coming players in the system.
Origin special - Breaking down the big game
"The good part about Moses was that he was listening. I thought he was a really good player and that his strength was his running game," Kimmorlery said.
It is why Kimmorley said Mbye, who has played mostly in the halves or fullback, was cut out for the utility role on the bench for the Maroons after playing dummy-half for the Bulldogs on several occasions in the NRL and at SG Ball level.
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"We’ve see him play dummy-half a few times and you’d like to think that if you are a former half or fullback that you can pass the football, a requirement of playing dummy-half," Kimmorley said.
"Moses's ability, with one marker or no marker, means that he has also got to think about running rather than being a provider for the team for the whole game.
"What Moses has done really well as his career has progressed, and he was playing first grade at Noosa at 16, is that with every chance he has been given in whatever position you know what you are going to get from him, and that is a pretty good standard of football."
Moses is aware the Maroons have had some top-quality bench utilities in recent times, such as Cooper Cronk, Daly Cherry-Evans and Michael Morgan
"There has been some really good predecessors and that is something that is important to me, to do that spot proud," he said.
"I know that I am a versatile player and that can be a blessing or a curse. Sometimes you get to be the second best in every position but it is a blessing now. I knew that if I was going to get the chance to play Origin it would probably be in that utility role.
"It was an emotional phone call from Kevvie [Walters] and something I’ve dreamed of my whole life. To get to wear a Maroon jersey is special."
Match: Maroons v Blues
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Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
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Mbye missed the Wests Tigers clash with South Sydney last week with a groin injury but said he would be right to play the Holden State of Origin series opener against NSW.
"I trained yesterday and I’m feeling good,” he said.
"I had a slight groin adductor strain last week and they are an injury where you don’t really know where they are at until you get back running, but I ran yesterday and got through my run, my rehab and all my weights so that was a real big tick."
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