Legendary Wally Carr in the Blues' Corner
As one of the country's most legendary fighters, Wally Carr was never down for long, if at all. It's a mentality he wants to inspire in the state's Origin players.
The story of Carr's rise to the top is an inspiring, if relatively untold, tale of resilience. Growing up in 1950s Wellington, in rural NSW, Carr found himself moving to Sydney as a 16-year-old, when he decided to pursue a career inside the ring.
"I walked up to this gym and the bloke said 'what are you doing young fella?' I said 'I want to learn how to fight, sir,'" Carr tells NSWRL.com.au. "He said 'well jump in there.'
"The bloke I was sparring, he'd just got knocked out by Lionel Rose before Rose won the world title. I jumped in the ring, put the gloves on and everything, and he punched the hell out of me.
"I had blood pouring everywhere, but I wouldn't go down - and that's how my fights started."
In a career spanning 15 years, Carr had 101 professional fights across 13 divisions, winning 12 titles in nine divisions. He is an inductee into the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame - and now has a special connection to the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues.
The grandfather of NSW flyer Josh Addo-Carr, Wally was seen as a perfect mentor for the team's boxing session on Tuesday - responding to the call at short notice. As the team boarded the bus en route to City of Sydney PCYC in Woollomooloo, the quick-footed winger was asked to check if Carr was available.
"I said 'Josh can you ring your grandad, can someone get him to the gym?' He said 'I'll phone him now,'" performance coach Hayden Knowles explains. "He answered the phone and his grandad was on the other end going 'who's asked me to come? Freddy Fittler!'
"He was here before us, so he must've jumped straight in the car.
"That character of a fighter has been passed down through his family and we see it in Josh - Josh will never let anyone down."
"I couldn't believe it when he's rung me up and I feel unbelievably proud," Carr adds.
"It's like winning another title just by being here, I'll put this in the same category."
Many of the qualities required in boxing translate to the Origin arena - and according to Carr, those characteristics have been clear to see in the NSW team in Games One and Two. Both tough wins, the man nicknamed 'Wait-Awhile-Wal' has liked what he's seen so far, expecting more of the same in the series finale at Suncorp Stadium.
"The two games they've played, they've just risen from nothing and they play together," Carr says. "Everyone's looking after everybody and there was no spells.
"It was brilliant to watch - and they're going to get better, don't worry about that. They'll win this, it'll be the first time in 20 years since they've won the clean sweep. I'll be in the corner cheering."
When asked to give one piece of advice to the team moving forward, however, Carr's words seemed oddly familiar. Throughout his 101 fights, the boxing legend had one key learning, which coach Brad Fittler has been trying to emphasise throughout the entire campaign so far: stay relaxed.
"Just get on, be yourself and when something happens, it happens naturally," Carr says. "Just be yourself and relax - same as me when I used to fight.
"I relaxed and everything just came naturally, and that's the way the last two games were played.