Before he bleeds blue for NSW, Tariq Sims has paid tribute to the Queenslander who saved his rugby league career.
Sims will next week complete one of the year's most absorbing stories when the St George Illawarra back-rower runs out for his long-awaited State of Origin debut.
The Gerringong-born hitman almost gave the game away back in 2012 after breaking his leg twice in the space of nine months while at North Queensland.
Before going down against Penrith he had been pencilled into then-Blues coach Ricky Stuart's extended squad but has been forced to wait another six years to finally get his crack at representing his state.
The 28-year-old said there were two people who convinced him to keep going - his wife Ashleigh and former Cowboys trainer Glen Murphy.
Murphy was born and raised in central Queensland and was part of the Cowboys' inaugural 1995 side.
He made over 50 appearances for the Townsville club before joining their coaching staff, where he made an indelible mark on Sims' career.
"He and my wife were probably the two people who kept me in the game," Sims said.
"Every time I text him or talk to him, I'm forever thanking him.
"Glen was a huge shining light for me at a really dark time. I was mentally immature (to be dealing with) a broken leg and to turn around seven months later and do the exact same leg in the same spot, you're not in the best frame of mind at all."
After serving as the Blues' 18th man in games one and two, Sims has been named on Brad Fittler's bench for Origin III and could yet come into the starting side should Boyd Cordner succumb to a calf injury.
When he runs onto Suncorp Stadium, it will cap his against-the-odds journey.
When he arrived at the team hotel on Monday, Sims assumed he would again be in the extended squad.
And it wasn't until the team was read out on stage during a team function at ANZ Stadium that he realised he was in Fittler's 17.
"After the game on Thursday (Fittler) just said to me to be mentally and physically ready. It was a crytpic message, he said to have some time away with my family and just relax before we go back into camp," Sims said.
"I was told on the Sunday night that we're reporting 8.30am at the stadium for the team announcement and then a bit of a walk and then we're going down to Coogee. I still hadn't been told anything.
"It wasn't until they were calling us out on stage and they said 'No.14 Tariq Sims' and I was sort of walking out there scratching my head thinking they might have stuffed up.
"I got on stage and Jimmy (Maloney) started poking me in the back with his bottle and I'm trying to process it in my mind and I turned around and Jimmy said 'congrats brother'.
"It was an awesome way to find out, Freddy's got his finger on the pulse and that was a nice way to find out and he does nice gestures like that all the time."