Luke Keary won two NRL premierships alongside superstar Cooper Cronk and can see the same big-game qualities in NSW Blues halfback Nathan Cleary.
The Sydney Roosters five-eighth said Cleary's patience and consistency reminds him of Cronk and insisted he is happy to let the 22-year-old steer the ship in the State of Origin opener on Wednesday night.
Two of Keary's three premierships came while playing 'second fiddle' to a dominant halfback and he is ready to fulfil a similar role in his Origin debut.
"(Cleary) reminds me of Cooper in his calm and his cool-headed manner," Keary told AAP.
"He doesn't really waver through any situations.
"You know what you're going to get out of him.
"He's just a consistent player and a consistent person.
"They're the dudes you look to in those bigger games."
The 28-year-old Keary has the same cool head, but remains impressed by his Blues halves partner who is six years younger.
"[He's] very rare," Keary said.
"He's so similar to Cooper. They're so solid and consistent off the field in the way they live their life, and it transfers to the type of player they are and how they play footy."
While Cleary was one of the best players in the competition for Penrith this season, Blues coach Brad Fittler labelled Keary the best player of the past three years.
Alongside Cronk, Keary steered the Roosters to back-to-back premierships in 2018 and 2019, claiming the Clive Churchill Medal in the first of those two successes.
He can manage a game as well as any halfback but on Wednesday night he will do whatever is best for the Blues.
At the Panthers this season Cleary touched the ball more than any other halfback in the competition, leading to 17-straight wins and his best individual season.
The Blues - and Keary - want to stick with what worked to get Cleary at his best.
"I understand the type of player he is and why he's played his best footy this year, so we just want him to play his game and that should complement not just myself but what's best for the team," Keary said.
"I had Cooper there at the Roosters and he kind of took over and I was kind of playing that second fiddle so that'll be similar to what I do here."