Mick Fanning conquered the world, conquered his fears and even got the better of a shark and now the Aussie surfing hero wants the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues to follow his lead and have no doubts for the opening game of the Holden State of Origin series.
Fanning, who won three world titles during his career as a professional surfer, was invited into camp by Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler to do the jumper presentation in the lead-up to facing Queensland at Suncorp Stadium.
Fanning spoke to the players about his own experiences and the highs and lows of his own career to help them with the hostile environment they will face in front of a parochial Queensland crowd on Wednesday night.
“For athletes there’s a lot of talk that goes through the head,” Fanning said.
“There’s this little guy that comes in, well there’s two guys really. There’s the guy who’ll pump your tyres up and he’ll be, “Yep, we’ve got this, we’ve got this.
“And then all of a sudden the doubter will come in and the doubter’s the scary one. If you can control what he’s saying then you can let the pump up your tyres guy take over and keep you going.
“You guys are the best in the world at what you do and that’s why you’re here so it’s trusting your skill set and trusting your training and trusting what you’ve grown up doing your whole lives.
“Just don’t doubt yourselves and if something mucks up, just let it go. You can’t change that, you just have to do the next best thing after that.”
Fanning answered questions from the floor from both the players and the coaching staff, including how he faced his own fears and entered the water again after he was attacked by a shark – and punched it – during the J-Bay Open finals in South Africa in 2015.
“We’ve almost all probably been hit by a car before and you’re sort of like, “Ok, that happened, I’ve got to move on”,” Fanning said.
“I probably had a little bit of trauma afterwards mentally, if I heard a splash or something behind me I’d freak out, but I’d see sharks and it didn’t freak me out. It was more the things I couldn’t see, or couldn’t control, that was the past that scared ne the most.
“Out of 33 years of surfing that’s the closest I’ve ever been – I wouldn’t want one get any closer – but it’s just part of life. You can either be crippled by it or just move on.”