Qld's McQueen ready to face the fire in State of Origin II
FROM a skinny country kid nicknamed Krispy Kreme, who did backflips after games, Chris McQueen has certainly come a long way.
Previously a fullback at Wynnum-Manly, McQueen's former captain Luke Dalziel-Don recalls the now Maroons second-rower as someone who didn't have a worry in the world.
"I remember following our 2006 grand final win, Chris was doing backflips afterwards. He was 18 when he first came down from Kingaroy, and he wasn't the healthiest kid," Dalziel-Don said.
But just look at McQueen now - a battled-hardened, second-rower ready to throw himself into the furnace of his second Origin match at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
After making his representative debut off the bench in the 14-6 game one loss in Sydney, Maroons coach Mal Meninga has elevated McQueen to the starting line-up to inject more mobility and impact.
And if he has his way, the opportunity will be just the start for the 25-year-old who has plenty more dreams to achieve.
"It's hard to understand what it all really means. But when I get to the end of my career, hopefully I've played 20 Origins and maybe represented Australia," he said.
Despite his laidback nature, McQueen has always had sky-high goals - last year, he said he wanted to captain the Rabbitohs, not long after being dropped to play in the NSW Cup for feeder club North Sydney.
"Madge (Souths coach Michael Maguire) saw something in me when I was playing on the wing that I could be a back rower," McQueen said.
"I wasn't so sure at the time, but I was keen to give it a go and see how I went. I struggled with it at first, and for that reason I got dropped.
"But I played with the Bears, and that was a good opportunity to play plenty of minutes. We had a few injuries and I was lucky enough to get a start back in the senior team."
McQueen singled out fellow Kingaroy-raised Queensland representative Matt Ballin for inspiring him to set the bar high from a young age.
"To see him crack first grade and get his first start in Origin, that's pretty inspirational for a kid from Kingaroy," McQueen said.
"The minute you think you've achieved everything you think you can achieve, you may as well give the game away.
"Excellence is always a dot on the horizon - you can never really achieve excellence."