Height no worry for NSW pocket-rocket To'o

·3-min read

Brian To'o knows he'll be targeted under the high ball by Queensland in next week's State of Origin opener.

After all the NSW rookie has been reminded all his life about his height, or lack there of.

"I'm tiny bro," To'o told AAP.

According to the Penrith winger's official NRL profile, he stands 182cm tall. The reality though is far closer to 175cm.

Which in fairness is only marginally under the height of the average Australian male.

But in terms of a modern-day NRL winger To'o knows that's small.

If you believe everyone else's official measurements, 175cm would make To'o the shortest winger in the NRL.

As unreliable as those figures can be, To'o will give up at least 17cm if he opposes Kyle Feldt in Townsville.

None of this bothers To'o though.

He rose through Penrith's ranks without achieving higher honours to now be one of the NRL's premier wingers.

"I don't even know how tall I am," To'o said.

"In under-20s I was selected (for NSW). But growing up, I was never in rep teams. It was probably just based on height.

"The first thing they looked at was probably my height when I told them my position."

In the NRL though, it's yet to hold the 22-year-old back.

Despite being attacked all year, To'o has been leapt over for a try just once this year by Xavier Coates in round six.

"Everyone always looks at me and says I'm small. I don't mind that, I always find it a bit of a challenge," To'o said.

"Especially with the opposition against me and someone who is tall. It just makes me push a bit more harder.

"Even if someone does jump over me eventually, it just gives me the opportunity to be better and try and catch those high balls and compete for it."

What To'o lacks in height he makes up for in power.

Penrith's performance guru and Blues trainer Hayden Knowles ranks him in the top three strongest players at the club - evidenced by the record-setting 236 metres To'o has run per game this year.

Never was that strength better exemplified to Knowles than in a pre-season army camp last year.

While some players struggle in the final self evaluation, an unfazed To'o was told to dance in blinding truck headlights.

"He just stood there and did a backflip, on his feet out of nowhere," Knowles said.

"They said that's impressive, but that's not dancing.

"So he stood there, did some moves and moonwalked out of the lights.

"But he's just that kid. When we do that acrobatic stuff he is just on another level.

"He is that athletic and that powerful, but also he's tough.

"He gets hit and he's like: 'right, give me another carry'."