Had things turned out a little bit differently, St George Illawarra enforcer Tyson Frizell could have been lining up for the Wallabies against the All Blacks this weekend.
The Dragons back-rower has been touted as a future State of Origin star and was close to being blooded by NSW coach Laurie Daley during this year’s series.
However, Frizell has revealed that what is a blossoming NRL career nearly failed to eventuate.
The 23-year-old grew up in Wollongong playing league for most of his youth, but at 16 decided to make the switch to the 15-man code.
He was immediately identified as a rising talent by NSW and Australian union officials, and rose to tour Europe with the national schoolboys team in 2009.
While away, Frizell was presented with two offers – one from the NSW Waratahs and one from the Cronulla Sharks to be part of their under 20s side.
After much deliberation, he chose to return to his first love of league.
“There was a decision to go to one of the Super Rugby teams or go to Cronulla,” Frizell told AAP.
“At the time I was overseas with the Australian Schoolboys (rugby union team) and I had to make a decision when I came back, so that was something I had to think about while I was over there.
“Everything happens for a reason and I picked Cronulla and here I am today.”
While Frizell is locked up at the Dragons until the end of 2017, in what must be music to the ears of Michael Cheika and his ARU offsiders, Frizell could not rule out one day making a switch back to union.
“You never say never,” he said.
“It’s always an option there, but for the time being it’s not something I’m looking at.
“I’m contracted here for another two years, so I’m just worrying about playing good footy here.”
While Frizell was touted as an Origin bolter this year and was brought in as Daley’s 18th man for Game I, he says he’s not ready for representative football and predicts he needs another couple of good years to come into serious consideration.
“The players that get selected have played consistent footy a lot longer than I have,” Frizell said.
“I’ve had an OK start to the season, but they’ve been doing it for the past two years.
“Hopefully I can play some consistent footy and keep playing well and then I think my opportunity will come.”