Ten years after defying the critics, Petero Civoniceva expects under fire Queensland prop Nate Myles to do the same in the 2016 State of Origin series.
There was a sense of deja vu when legendary former Maroons frontrower Civoniceva attended Queensland’s Origin I team unveiling on Tuesday night.
And not just because Queensland were toasting his 2006 Origin team along with the 1986 and 1996 Maroon outfits as part of the announcement.
Civoniceva said he could empathise with the besieged Myles who critics believed had not earned his front row spot after a quiet start at new NRL club Manly this year.
It reminded him of his own 2006 turmoil when he was dubbed “too old and slow” by none other than Maroons great Paul Vautin.
History shows Civoniceva and fellow “Dad’s Army” prop Steve Price inspired an Origin triumph that year that sparked the great Maroons dynasty of nine series victories in the last decade.
“It was funny hearing doubts about Nate. It did remind me (of 2006),” Civoniceva told AAP.
The veteran of 33 Origins predicted Myles to also silence his knockers after being confirmed for the June 1 series opener, saying the Maroons warhorse was as important as skipper Cameron Smith and playmaker Johnathan Thurston.
“I can tell you now, if you asked any Queensland player he would be one of the first guys they would pick,” he said.
“He’s that guy you know will bring something to every game.
“He will roll up his sleeves up and do the hard work the team needs.
“He has shown that over many years.
“If I was picking a team he would be one of the first picked alongside Thurston and Smith – he is that important to the team.”
Critics may believe Myles will run out in his 30th Origin, relegating Kangaroos prop Josh McGuire to the bench, thanks to the Queensland selectors’ loyalty.
But skipper Smith believed Myles’ Maroons call-up should never have been in doubt.
“He’s one of those guys that makes you feel safer when he is in the team,” said Smith, who will play a record 37th Origin in the Sydney series opener.
“I don’t think I have played a game with Nate where he has let anyone down or played badly.
“We’ve seen in the past where guys have been criticised for their club form and then they come into Origin and they are a different player.
“I am not concerned about anything being said about Nate – I am extremely confident that he will play like he always does for the Maroons.”