Melbourne fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen could never have dreamed of a State of Origin debut two years ago when he wasn't even Craig Bellamy's first-choice NRL replacement for Billy Slater.
The 22-year-old Papenhuyzen said he was shocked to be named in Brad Fittler's 27-man Blues squad for the series that starts in Adelaide on November 4.
Fittler told the Clive Churchill Medallist after Sunday night's NRL grand final win, with Papenhuyzen's selection capping off a brilliant two seasons from the young fullback.
When Slater retired at the end of 2018, Bellamy had three options to fill the No.1 spot with Papenhuyzen, Jahrome Hughes and Scott Drinkwater in the running.
Nailing that was all Papenhuyzen would allow himself to dream of.
"No chance I would have thought of [playing Origin]," he said on Monday.
"I just wanted to play first grade, my goal last year was to play consistent first grade and to even think of those things then would have been silly of me.
"You've got to keep thinking about your footy and working on your footy.
"That was in the back of my mind and these rewards come from it.
"At the end of the day I just wanted to be a better player and keep improving, that was the main goal."
After recovering from premiership celebrations on the Sunshine Coast, Papenhuyzen will join the Blues squad on the Central Coast on Wednesday.
He will act as cover for star fullback James Tedesco, who is dealing with a knee injury that could rule him out of game one in Adelaide.
Tedesco was in a knee brace after the Sydney Roosters were knocked out of the finals by Canberra at the start of the month.
However, he is set to start running again this week and is confident of playing.
Should Tedesco play, Papenhuyzen could fill a utility role as he has done in the past for Melbourne to give an injection of speed from the bench.
"It's a big squad of 27 so just to be a part of it I'm pretty humbled and I just like to enjoy that experience and then whatever happens happens," Papenhuyzen said.
"But at the moment, I don't think it's really sunk in."