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Big hits and bust-ups aside, the tension between New South Wales and Queensland players begins long before the whistle is blown for the kick-off of State of Origin.
And for South Sydney Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook, he learned all about the fierce rivalry first hand through one brilliant interaction with his club teammate.
Payne Haas & Tino Fa'asuamaleaui have been sent to the sin bin.#Origin pic.twitter.com/7blC4ioUhV
- NRL (@NRL) November 11, 2020
Back in 2018, Cook had just been selected to represent NSW for the first time.
He'd be making his State of Origin debut against a gritty Queensland team that boasted NRL greats such as Greg Inglis and Billy Slater.
But among those Queenslanders was Cook's South Sydney teammate Dane Gagai.
Clearly excited to be making his State of Origin debut, Cook made the mistake of reaching out to his NRL teammate to wish him good luck.
And, well, let's just say he quickly realised what Origin is all about.
"I think that's something I learnt from Gags. When I got picked in Origin (the first time) and I saw he got picked I messaged him 'congrats', and he never wrote back," Cook told Big Sports Breakfast radio.
"From there I learned that's how it is, so that's how me and Gags have kept it and that's how it is with the rest of the players I play with at Souths.
"I'm proud of those (Souths) boys, especially Jaydn Su'a and Corey Allan this year, but we will chat about that after Wednesday night."
Brutal from Gagai.
But it just goes to show how much State of Origin means to the players as well as the fans watching at home.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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