There was a time Queensland Maroons squad member Dunamis Lui thought he may never play rugby league.
As a 12-year-old, Lui, who has been named by coach Wayne Bennett to line up against the New South Wales Blues in State of Origin Game II on Wednesday
, longed to play the sport all of his friends were, but his parents said 'no'.
"I was pretty close to not even playing rugby league at all... I was always keen to play, especially with all of my friends playing... I just remember my parents saying 'no' because they couldn't afford it," Lui said.
"Luckily enough, I had two close mates when I was younger, their parents actually looked after me and paid for my fees and got me going. I owe a lot of thanks to them."
Those two friends were Wavell Heights State School classmates Jay Spletter and Mitch Everson; Lui said their fathers Peter and Mark made sure he could play at Brothers at Stafford and he would forever be thankful.
"I remember Jay asking me to play and I was saying 'no' because my parents wouldn't let me... but they paid for my fees, picked me up for training, looked after me... it all started from there," Lui said.
"I want them to know I still remember what they did."
Lui said Josh McGuire's parents were "like my second parents really" and also made sure he continued to play the game he loved.
Dunamis Lui playing at Norths. Photo: QRL "They were also picking me up for games, picking me up for trainings.... I would even sleep at their house nights before games... they play a big part in my early days," Lui said.
"And my coach at Wavell State High School, Dave Porter... he played a real big part in me starting off as well. When I was 14 he introduced me to my manager.
"Because I was a pretty big boy, he bought me sports shoes. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday before school I'd get there at around 6am and we'd do the cross country. He'd force me to do it. We started with the shorter run first, the three-kilometre, and gradually worked up to the five-kilometre one. I don't think I ever ran any of those non-stop, but yeah, he played a really big part in me starting out and he's always been there since."