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North Queensland halfback Tom Dearden has said he welcomed a week in camp with Queensland's State of Origin side, both as a learning experience and a chance to get his body right for the back end of 2022.
Dearden was 18th man in the Maroons' 16-10 win over NSW in Sydney and although he did not have any game time, he said the small things he picked up were essential.
Taking that back into Friday's game in Cowboys colours, the 21-year-old was tenacious in attack and defence as his side bested St George Illawarra 31-12.
He said a gap between games had allowed him to refresh and re-focus and he had been on a learning curve in Queensland camp
"Had some bumps and bruises, so it was good to kind of let them heal a bit and felt really fresh," he told AAP.
"(Origin camp) was mainly just trying to be confident.
"You're getting coached by some of the greats to play origin and to play the game."
"So it was a really good learning curve, and training with some of the best players in the game was pretty cool as well."
Dearden has excelled in his first first full season at the Cowboys, with nine try assists through 13 games and scoring five of his own.
Under the guidance of premiership-winning halfback Chad Townsend, the Cowboys are firmly in the top four with the second best defensive record in the competition.
But even at his young age, Dearden knows he will get the opportunity for Queensland one day if he sticks to his guns.
"It would be a dream come true if I got to debut for Queensland but I'm just going to focus on playing good footy here at the Cows," he said.
"If I can get an opportunity, or I get to go into the squad again in game two and three, that'll be awesome, but I'm still only young so I've got got a lot of time."