If, on Wednesday night, you happen to wonder where Luke Lewis' motivation to repeatedly throw himself into the jaws of Queensland's brick-wall-like defence stems from - it is a fear that lives deep in the pit of his stomach.
Lewis, who had a cancerous thyroid gland removed from his neck last year and who is a staunch supporter of organisations that oppose domestic violence, is a man of mettle. He was moulded as a footballer by his nine long years in Origin; pitched into the game's so-called civil war as a fresh-faced 19-year-old winger in 2004.
As he's grown stronger, Lewis has been used as a centre, a lock and a second-rower for the Blues, but fear of failing has accompanied his every step like a shadow.
''My biggest fear in footy, even at club level, is failure,'' he said. ''You have to fail to learn, but I'm scared of letting my teammates down. And I feel like that because we do all the hard work at training together. If a game comes down to two points or a try … the thought you could be the person who missed a tackle and let that try in or conceded a penalty, that's scary. But it's what drives me to be the best player I can be for the bloke next to me.''
Of the Origin experience, Lewis said: ''It's an intense mentality, totally different to club footy. Your mindset going into State of Origin is you think about the [NSW] players who you looked up to as a kid, you don't want to let them down. You don't want to let the fans down and you don't want to disappoint your family and friends, who might be sitting in the crowd or watching the game on television.
''Just before the kick-off I look at the crowd to where my family is sitting … you want them to be proud of you.''
Lewis was captivated from a young age by the heroics that make Origin a stand-alone brand in world sport, but, as the son of a single mother, his appreciation for the interstate series came from watching the games on television or the highlights DVD he'd constantly watch after school.
''All I ever wanted to do as a kid was run out in front of a packed house for NSW,'' he said. ''My first 'live' Origin experience was when I was picked for NSW in 2004 because we either could never get to an Origin game or, when we had the opportunity to go, the tickets were gone. But playing for the state was all I ever wanted to do because what I saw on the television and the DVDs inspired me.''
The man of the match in Origin I knows the key to ending Queensland's dominance. ''We need to be spot on,'' he said. ''We have to be clinical … Wednesday night's game is 80 minutes but to get ready for that game and to win it, the work needs to be done in the build-up. We have to make sure we train in a way that means even if the crowd is too loud [to hear calls] we know what's going on out there.
''Our preparation for game one was spot on, our preparation for game two probably wasn't the best but our preparation for Wednesday has been outstanding. We need to complete our sets, get to their end and not give them too much ball because they have class all over the field.''
Lewis, who is in his first year of a long-term deal with Cronulla, said few could understand what impact the noise from the crowd had. ''The noise affects the play,'' he said. ''In Brisbane they're screaming all the time, going nuts and it's hard to hear the bloke next to you. It's why you need to have established that communication with your teammates so you know what play is going on.''