Corey Norman admits he wouldn’t be making his Maroons debut if it wasn’t for his mum Sandy so it was only natural she was the first person he called after coach Kevin Walters gave him the news that he would finally wear the Queensland jersey.
There were tears of joy on the other end when the 28-year-old Dragon rang to tell her that he had realised a boyhood dream. Sandy brought Corey up on her own in a housing commission area of Logan and worked overtime so he could play junior football with the Beenleigh Lions.
Walters’s call on Sunday while he was on his way to a St George Illawarra teammate's home will remain a moment he never forgets.
"I was actually driving to one of the boys’ houses and got the call and he told me I’d be in camp and get a jersey. I was so excited and then when I got off the phone I had a big ‘yes’ moment," Norman said after Maroons training on Thursday.
"Then obviously I rang my mum and told her and she was over the moon as well. She broke down in tears and was so excited for me. It was a bit upsetting hearing her cry, but all her hard work has paid off.
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"She was a single parent as well. It has only ever been me and mum. I wouldn’t be here if she didn’t take me to all the football games and work overtime so she was definitely getting the first call.
"It is a reward for her and all her hard work to see me in this Maroons jersey. All my family is around that Logan area and we are proud Queenslanders so it is very special for me and my family."
The Dragons five-eighth wasn’t brought up with a silver spoon in his mouth but he is only proud of the journey he made from Beenleigh Lions junior to Broncos under 20s star and then NRL debutant in 2010.
"It is what it is. That is life. We have all done what we needed to do and it has made me the person I am today," he said.
Norman said there were "so many emotions" rolling around inside him when he got the news initially but he has since got down to business with the Maroons squad at training as he fine-tunes his role for the State of Origin series decider at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday.
He will partner Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves and try and get the backs firing. Spending a week in camp in Perth for game two has assisted him in that endeavour.
"Coming into camp in Origin II really helped where I got to run a few sessions and got to know the calls and plays so coming into this camp has really made me feel a lot more comfortable," Norman said.
"For me and Chez [Cherry Evans] we have still got Cameron Munster at the back who is going to have very big involvements so for us it is about keeping it simple and knowing our roles."
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Munster and Cherry-Evans are big personalities and ooze confidence. Norman is no different and said he would not be daunted when asked whether he would find it difficult to assert his authority as a debutant.
"That is part of my job as a half. I can’t be out there not saying anything," he said.
"I have got to really know my role and do it well for the team. I don’t have to come up with any special plays or anything like that. I just have to worry about what I have to do."
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It is fitting that Norman will wear the No.6 jersey, the same one his idol Darren Lockyer wore when he was a schoolboy watching the game on TV at home.
"Locky was a big one for me, because he was just a freak," Norman said.
Norman spent a month out of action for the Dragons with a fractured cheek but said he had never lost faith that he would get an opportunity to play for Queensland after a decade in the top grade.
"I have always been confident in my own ability. Who doesn’t want to play State of Origin in a decider? As a kid that is all you want to do."