Rugby league prodigy Reece Walsh is adamant he is fully prepared for the physicality and intensity of State of Origin footy.
The teenager was a shock call-up for the Queensland side for Game II, with coach Paul Green naming Walsh in the No.1 jersey for the must-win game in Brisbane.
That selection drew criticism from coaching legend Phil Gould, who called Maroons selectors "disgracefully weak" for "throwing Walsh to the wolves".
But the NZ Warriors youngster isn't phased. Walsh believes he is ready for representative rugby league and is backing himself to shine under the bright flights of Suncorp Stadium.
"That's what you have to do as a footballer, you can't go out there thinking I'm not ready or I'm going to hold back, you are playing for your mates, your state and your family," Walsh says.
"I don't want to go out there half-hearted.
"It feels good, I feel really excited to be here, I'm still pinching myself walking around with a bunch of stars. It's pretty special, I'm enjoying it.
"My heart sank [when I got the call from coach Paul Green]. It's something you dream of since you were a little kid, just that opportunity to play for Queensland and my state, it was pretty special and I've overwhelmed to be honest."
Green isn't putting excess pressure on Walsh to help turn around a 50-6 Game I thrashing Townsville. Instead, he wants the 18-year-old to focus on doing the basics and organising a defensive line that was embarrassed by a talent-rich New South Wales backline.
And that sits well for Walsh, who says he is growing as a communicator just seven games into his NRL career.
"That's my job and I will organise to the best of my ability," he said.
"I feel like talk is a big part of my game. I am still getting used to it now, it's something I can still work on, but I feel it's a strong part of my game, but I have a lot of work to do.
"I feel I will be alright, the boys will look after me. I feel like I just have to do my job and give 100 percent and the boys will have my back and look after me out there."
Sunday's clash against the Blues will be a homecoming of sorts for Walsh, who spent three years as a junior at the Brisbane Broncos.
His talent was identified by the Warriors and the Kiwi club managed to prize him away from Brisbane on a three-year deal with the promise of immediate first-grade football.
Brisbane coach Kevin Walters didn't believe Walsh was ready for top-level rugby league, but despite Walsh's rapid rise since his mid-season move, the playmaker says he has nothing to prove to his former coach this weekend.
"My goal this year was to play in the NRL. It has been pretty special. It's pretty crazy, looking back on it, it's been a crazy time, it's really special and I will always look back on this and cherish it."