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How a bus trip with Fittler turned Lewis into a superstar

When Brad Fittler re-wrote his script and came out of representative retirement for State of Origin, Luke Lewis was picked to make his debut for the NSW Blues.

Lewis was into his fourth year of NRL, had won a premiership – ironically against Fittler's Roosters – and had been called upon to play in Rugby League's toughest arena. Even so, he still had so much to learn.

A fresh-faced Lewis sat next to his idol on the team bus during the camp, and the words Fittler said to him on that trip changed the way he approached professional Rugby League forever.

"I remember sitting on the bus with him once and he goes 'it doesn't matter what you do, your attitude is everything'," Lewis told The Locker Room Podcast.

"You could be real flat and real down, but as a leader if you turn up and you're flat and you're down, everyone else feels it.

You always hear stories about playing with Brad Fittler, he drove everything.

Luke Lewis

It's one thing for a Rugby League icon to give a rising star advice, but it would mean nothing if no action was applied to the words.

From the moment Lewis stepped off that bus, he began to notice how Fittler applied himself to training.

"You always hear stories about playing with Brad Fittler, he drove everything," Lewis said.

"What I noticed was he was always first on the training park and was always last to leave the training park.

"It didn't matter how he was feeling, every time he got out onto the park he was always the buzz, he was always full of energy, he was always working hard, always talking, he was always first to whatever drill we'd done, he always ran to everything.

"It's just his attitude training, everyone loved being around him because his attitude was spot on.

"[Even] watching him when I never had anything to do with him, wanting to be like him was just purely because of the way his attitude was."

From there, Lewis adjusted his mindset and attitude to mirror what Brad Fittler did.

If it could work for Fittler, it could work for Lewis. It's no coincidence he finished with 16 Tests, 17 Origin and 324 NRL games to his name in what was an amazing career.

"I thought I'm just going to watch everything he does and try and apply myself to what he does.

"My thing was I need to be out on the training park first or if he walks out I need to get out there with him. Don't get off the field until he gets off the field so make sure I was catching high balls or whenever he'd finish I'd walk off.

"You still get days when you're a little bit down, but every time you walk through the gate at training always try and be upbeat, always try to have a joke and that's how I treated my whole career from that day on."

Fittler's attitude in that Origin camp was rewarded with his famous charge down moment on the field in the decider to cement a series win.

Lewis would go on to reap similar benefits throughout his career including being part of the 300 club, another premiership with the Sharks, and being a part of the drought-breaking Origin team.

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