Cameron Munster passes the ball during a Maroons training session at Sanctuary Cove .
Cameron Munster passes the ball during a Maroons training session at Sanctuary Cove . Bradley Kanaris

Cameron Munster relishes Origin spinal tap

HOW do you prepare for your Origin debut in one of the most anticipated games of all time?

"I don't know to be honest," was Cameron Munster's reply shortly after being named in Queensland's side for tonight's series decider.

Munster will be thrown into the deep end when he makes his debut in the Maroons' most famous jersey, taking the reins at five-eighth as he joins his Melbourne teammates Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk in an all-Storm spine.

That's Munster's biggest advantage, but it's not the only ingredient in a recipe he hopes can prove a winner for Queensland.

The kid who grew up idolising Darren Lockyer before turning his attention to Storm teammate Billy Slater will bring a dash of their pizzazz, a dose of confidence in himself and willingness to work hard to get to where he wants to be.

Munster was never the anointed one. As a junior, he wasn't an automatic selection in state age teams.

He hasn't come through a development program of an NRL club and admits at 18, he found himself wondering if he'd ever get his chance.

"I was stressing out, to be honest, when I was 18 and playing Queensland Cup," he said. "I played against the Broncos 20s at one stage there and they weren't interested and I was like, oh well, this might be it."

Munster credits Central Queensland Capras coach Jason Hetherington with giving him the chance to prove himself and encouraging him to keep trying even when things seemed lost.

"He told me to back myself when I was at the Capras and he told me that I had the talent and I just needed to work hard," Munster said.

"I decided to just go back and work hard on stuff I needed to improve on, which was weights and ball-playing and just working on my all-round game.

"I was talking to Jason (after the Broncos showed no interest) and he was like, 'Mate, just keep doing what you've been doing and anything can happen'.

"I was lucky to play a pretty good game against Easts Tigers at the time and that was the feeder club for the Storm and I was very lucky to get a contract.

"I would probably not have learned as much as I have (in Melbourne) at any other club ... I was very lucky also to be around the 'Big Three'."

He hasn't stopped learning.

He was one of the eight players Kevin Walters suspended last year after they broke curfew in the Emerging Origin camp.

The ban may actually have proved a blessing.

"When we did what we did ... I know it wasn't ideal but it's shaped what kind of a player I am now and made me realise how fortunate we are to be able to do something we love and not take it for granted," he said. "I've pulled my head in a lot more than last year.

"I really respected (Walters') decision."

Every moment has been a step on Munster's journey to Suncorp Stadium tonight.

"I don't like letting my teammates down," he said.

"I just try and do my best for the team and try and put my body in front and my body on the line as much as I can."

News Corp Australia

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