From one star to another...
BUNDABERG'S Antonio Kaufusi remembers his State of Origin debut like it happened yesterday.
The former NRL star, who played for four clubs, has vivid memories of running out for the Maroons in the first game of the 2007 series.
A replacement for Carl Webb, it would be the only game he played for Queensland after suffering a knee injury during play.
Kaufisi has recalled his time in the Maroons as fellow Bundy boy Coen Hess makes his debut for his home state in tonight's second game in Sydney.
"It was real surreal moment,” he said.
"When you ran out of the tunnel and hear the roar it made you feel 10-feet tall and that pumped you up to do anything.
"The atmosphere of playing in an Origin match is awesome.”
Kaufusi said that is something Hess can use to his advantage to conquer whatever nerves he has before the game.
"He'll play off that vibe and the hype surrounding the game,” he said.
"His family will also be down there supporting him every step of the way, which will help.”
And can Hess handle the expectations put on him?
"He seems really relaxed from what I've seen from him,” Kaufusi said.
"Young players these days seem to embrace pressure and they fear nothing.”
Kaufusi also had a little bit of advice from one State of Origin player to another about to make the big time.
"Keep things really simple,” he said.
"You can get caught up and it is such a big game you can over think it.
"He's got a proven track record with his form so all he has to do is his job.”
Hess becomes the fourth Bundaberg player to play for the Maroons after Kaufusi, Mal Meninga and Les Kiss.
"It's a great reward for his display and effort this season,” Queensland Rugby League central division operations manager Dave Pearce said.
"It's great for the town and him and his family.
"Hopefully there is more to come from the region with our younger players coming through.”