The untimely injury sustained by Aaron Woods gave Andrew Fifita the chance to start in the front row for Australia last Friday - and he won’t say no if the same opportunity presents itself when the NSW VB Blues team is picked in 13 days.
From scoring the most important try in the Cronulla Sharks' history last October, to earning back his Test jumper over the weekend, Fifita is letting his Rugby League do the talking and his powerful form has put him in a position to potentially take the opening kick-off at Suncorp Stadium on 31 May.
The chance to represent NSW is something Fifita cherishes and should Woods not line up for Game One, Fifita is keen to take on the job at hand.
“I’m not going to say no to [starting],” Fifita tells NSWRL.com.au.
“I’ll never take that jersey for granted, whether that’s off the bench or wherever Laurie [Daley] wants me to do a job.
“At club level I’m doing a good job starting, I started for the Kangaroos on the weekend and I thought I did my job on the weekend so whatever he throws at me I’ll take it with both hands, but whatever happens I’ll be happy to be a part of the 17.”
After not being considered for the 2016 Four Nations tournament, Fifita was honoured to be re-called into the side, and said that he couldn’t express the feelings he had when he felt the Kangaroos jersey back in his hands.
He has the same sense of passion and pride for the VB Blues jersey and due to the influx of debutants that Laurie Daley has brought into the squad in recent years, Fifita has emerged as a leader of the pack.
“I’ve been there since 2013 and I’ve seen a lot of young players that have come through,” Fifita says.
“I’ve taken a couple of leadership skills I’ve learned from club level and through working with the Kangaroos which is a massive advantage.”
Despite being a part of the Origin fold for all that time, Fifita still hasn’t fulfilled his dream of winning a series with NSW.
This year, however, that dream might just become a reality, due to the depth of forwards Daley has at his disposal and the even spread of recent debutants becoming more equipped to the Origin arena.
Two games at Suncorp Stadium is no easy task, but Fifita is more than ready to embrace the hate.
“I love that kind of stuff, I love the banter; it’s about embracing the atmosphere,” Fifita says.
“The only way you can respond to the crowd is by your actions on the field, and when something good happens on the field all you can do is just smile.
“We’ve only got one game in Sydney so it’s going to be a tough job for us, but I’d love to be a part of it and I can’t wait to embrace it.”
“Hopefully this year we can secure the series, I haven’t had the chance of winning it. I was out injured in 2014 so I missed that.
“I want that feeling, it’s the only thing to tick off my bucket list.”