The call from Cam Munster that helped ignite the Queensland Maroons debutant, who suffered 14 straight losses to start his NRL career
- North Queensland Cowboys’ Tom Dearden made his Origin debut
- After a tremendous rise in the NRL in 2022, he was one of the best players on the field
- The young cowboy replaced Melbourne Storm champion Cameron Munster
- Now he has revealed the conversation with Munster that helped him get onto the big stage
When Billy Slater knocked on his door last week to share the Mackay product he would be making his State of Origin debut with Queenslandit capped a meteoric rise for the young halfback who was once dubbed “the next Alfie Langer.”
Dearden has been a key cog in the revival of runners-up North Queensland Cowboys this season, but was taken off the clash against the Sharks tonight to recover from his winning Origin debut – and the celebrations that ensued.
Dearden hoists the State of Origin Shield after Wednesday night’s win over the Blues
Now he has revealed injured Melbourne Storm and Maroons star Cam Munster called him ahead of Wednesday’s Origin decider to prepare for rugby league’s biggest arena.
“I think it just shows – I know how disappointed he would have been not to have been able to run out and play in the decider – but it just shows the honor of the man to be able to call me and congratulate me, say.” I know the boys have my back and look forward to seeing me play,” said Dearden The wide world of sports from 4BC.
“I think hearing those words from a player like Cam Munster, who is probably the best player in the game right now, definitely gave me a lot of confidence.”
Queensland Maroons’ Kurt Capewell, Kalyn Ponga and Dearden celebrate the win
Advice from Munster, Slater and his Origin teammates helped Dearden lose his nerve as he walked out onto the Suncorp Stadium cauldron.
“It’s something you dream of as a kid and being able to make a debut at Suncorp Stadium in a playoff and it’s quite a special moment for Queensland to pull off a feat like that,” he said.
“I just had these natural nerves about the occasion, but I had a very clear message about what my job was and what I needed to do when I got out there.”
It was an obvious high after a young career punctuated by lows, and Dearden said he’s happy to ride the wave while it lasts.
“I’m still in the first few years [of my career] and I’m really loving my football right now,” he said.
“I started my career with some rough times and I think that’s what footy is all about, there are a lot of ups and downs so you have to soak up those high moments and enjoy them.”
Dearden has received much praise for his debut performance, which included 17 streaks for 103 yards, one line break, one line break assist, one try assist, 4 tackle breaks and 29 tackles.
“He’s only five feet tall, but he looked like he was seven feet tall and bulletproof,” Cronk said Fox sports.
“One of his first touches almost gave Josh Papalii a try. Then he prepares a try for Holmes. That was 101 ball game on the biggest stage.
Dearden saw his potential for the North Queensland Cowboys this season
“Fast footwork. Four against four. Beats the defender and simply throws a peach pass to Holmes which was the first try.
“But I also like his temperament. In the first half he passed, passed, passed. But in the second half he ran, ran, ran.
“He grabbed everything that came too close to him. He showed up on these plays.
“Sometimes players like Tom Dearden aren’t meant to do things on a football field, but when the game is at stake you just do it because you have to.
‘He was great. One of the better Origin debuts we’ve seen.’