WATMOUGH "Big game brings out our best - and a case of the goosebumps" Big game brings out our best - and a case of the goosebumps ANTHONY WATMOUGH May 23, 2010 http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/big-game-brings-out-our-best--and-a-case-of-the-goosebumps-20100522-w2vj.html It's the meeting that saved my rep career. I hadn't played Origin for four years and my friends, family, teammates, media, they were all telling me each time I should have been getting picked, yet each game I was overlooked. Then, coming off Manly's premiership win and having played in the World Cup final, I thought I would finally get my chance, so when I missed out for game one in Melbourne last year I was shattered. And it's why, when I was named 18th man a few days later, I didn't know if I wanted to do it. I was still pretty angry at missing out on the side and I didn't know whether to be excited to be in the frame or even more frustrated. It's why I sat down with Des Hasler and we had a good heart-to-heart about it. He knew how disappointed I was and how I had pretty much given up hope of playing Origin again. Dessie's opinion matters to me, to all the boys at Manly, and his words really hit home. He just talked about how I had to keep setting myself challenges and goals, how he believed in my ability to play rep footy and how he thought that once I got the chance it would bring out the best in me. It gave me the belief I needed to persevere and once I arrived in camp in Melbourne I got a sense of what Dessie meant. It was just a buzz to be around the boys and I got the chance to talk to Craig Bellamy and he let me know I was close and 18th man wasn't a token gesture. He said if I kept working hard I would get my chance, and he was true to his word. It's funny - all week I have been getting asked about game three last year, but the one I remember most is game two in Sydney. That first game back, I don't think I have ever been more excited. From the moment my name was read out, I was like a little kid getting to play his first game. That match was an eye-opener for me, walking off knowing that I could play at that level, handle the physicality and speed of it. I gave it everything I had and the pain of losing that match only made me hungrier to make sure we won game three. I don't know what it is about Origin, but it just brings out the best in everyone. You are able to do things that you don't or can't do in club footy. It's just playing with and against the best and it gives you goosebumps every time you think about it. It's why, even though I know I can play at this level, I still don't think I'm in that league of blokes you call true Origin players. I'm still in awe of the whole thing and have to take a step back at times and think about where I am and who I am getting to play with and against. The way we've prepared this camp has been great. It's all been about us and not about them, and having a number of the Former Origin Greats in has been great fun. I'm sure Bellyache is going to ramp up the intensity over the next few days and we will be ready for anything the Maroons throw at us. And if you have a look at the boys in our side - Killer (Jamie Lyon), Haynsie (Jarryd Hayne), B. Moz (Brett Morris), Timana Tahu, Jamal Idris - we've got plenty to throw at them as well. While we have just focused on ourselves, I have kept a close eye on Cam Smith's injury updates in the news. It's why when I first heard the news yesterday that he was out of the game that I thought of my good mate Matty Ballin. He's been playing behind the best hooker in the world at the moment and it's great he's got a chance to play. He won't let anyone down, but just so you know mate, if you get a start, Teddy (Josh Perry) and I will be gunning for you. That's what Origin's all about.