There’s no other way to say it – Brian To’o just loves bumping into people, and the bigger and meaner they are and the more they try to give him a leash, the better.
The Panthers star has become one of the best wingers in the NRL thanks to his relentless appetite for carrying the ball from his own half. And along with James Tedesco and Daniel Tupou, he’s ready to give New South Wales a head start in the yardage battle that Queensland will be hard pressed to match.
“I love it. It’s something I’m used to now,” To’o said.
“I love meeting great players.
“I represent all the little guys. Some people may be afraid of what might happen, but I try to show them that if you work hard and put your heart into it, it will be okay.
“I love those tote bags. I’ll always raise my hand for them.
“Around the 1920s, I stopped using my sidestep and decided to break through, and it worked, so I kept doing it.”
In To’o, Tupou and Tedesco, the Blues have three of the best yardage backs in rugby league and it could give New South Wales a serious advantage in the battle for Origin’s supremacy.
While Queensland’s back line has plenty of firepower and much is being made of the Maroons’ plan to attack To’o under the high ball, when it comes to work pace they simply can’t match New South Wales’ back three .
Given how often Origin becomes a battle of meters, that’s a big advantage for the Blues.
Maroon debutant Selwyn Cobbo has improved his distance carrying capacity in recent weeks and is currently averaging 130m per game, but that is well behind To’o (172 per game) and Tupou (166 per game), while Xavier Coates is well behind. stands 94 meters per game.
Add to that Tedesco’s distance capabilities – he has run the second longest distance of any player in the league this year – and it’s easy to imagine the three getting New South Wales to the fore.
“Toops and Teddy, they are two of the best in the league and it is an honor and a privilege to play with them,” said To’o.
“We want to feed each other’s energy all night long
“All the big boys work hard in the middle and they need the OBs (outsides) to help them out, so I’m going to do it.”
To’o is determined to improve on this Origin campaign – his second – as the Blues look to win their fourth in five years under Fittler.
The 23-year-old had little trouble translating his good club form to the interstate arena in his first heat, crossing for two tries and averaging over 200 yards with the ball in hand.
“We want to go from good to great,” To’o said.
“For me, I am still grateful to be a part of the camp.
“I still feel like I’m new to the squad, but I’m a lot more confident. Last year I was a bit nervous at the beginning.
“Planting the seed, working hard week after week, if we follow our process, it will take us on that journey.
“It’s something that we always carry together, whether it’s on the Origin stage or NRL, we try to build ourselves for those games and those moments.”