This Origin hero backs Kevvie
THE headlines screamed 'Adam Who' when he was chosen out of left field by Maroons coach Mal Meninga to make his Origin debut in the do-or-die second game of the 2006 series against New South Walesin Brisbane. But two tries in Queensland's 30-6 win announced Adam Mogg's arrival on rugby league's biggest stage.
He scored again in game three as the Maroons took the series at Docklands Stadium, kick-starting a record run of eight consecutive series victories under Meninga.
After 189 NRL games, Mogg finished his career playing at Catalan Dragons under the man about to step into Meninga's shoes, Kevin Walters.
Now coaching Redcliffe in the Q-Cup - where he took over from Panthers mentor Anthony Griffin - Mogg talked to Australian Regional Media's Josh Spasaro about his Origin experiences, and playing under the old and new Maroons coaches.
EARLY in the week, Origin camps are supposed to be relaxed, with players sharing stories and even a few beers.
But partying or late nights out are far from the first things that come to mind when Adam Mogg recalls his first Queensland Origin camp.
When the moment came 10 years ago, you could cut the tension with a knife.
The Queenslanders had just lost three series in a row, and many people south of the border were questioning whether the Origin concept was on its deathbed.
It was also the year Mal Meninga took the reigns as Maroons coach, and he had grown sick of all the talk the Blues owned Origin.
The Maroons lost the first game 17-16 in Sydney, some commentators saying they should have lost by more after their forward pack was thoroughly outplayed.
In a radio interview before game two, Meninga exploded:
"Mate, I'll tell you, right, youse guys … we're no chance of winning," he said at the time.
"What's the point in me talking about Origin, trying to talk our team up, when you think we're no chance?
"Honestly, leave me alone. We've got a really good side that's going to go out on Suncorp Stadium on June 14 and they're going to play their butts off."
And they did exactly that, debutants Mogg and Jacob Lillyman proving plenty of doubters wrong in the process.
Lillyman was called in for the injured Tonie Carroll, a Sydney newspaper labelling it "one of the biggest selection shocks in years". Blues star Nathan Hindmarsh admitted he didn't even know who Lillyman played for.
The Sydney media continued the theme, dragging out the "Adam Who" line.
But it was Meninga and the no-name Maroons who had the last laugh.
"Mal did a fantastic job with that Origin team," Mogg said. "He did a really good job with his people-management skills, and organising people around him.
"He's a true icon of the game - he doesn't say much, but when he does people listen.
"If you remember back to that series there was a lot of pressure - Darren (Lockyer), Steve Price and Petero (Civoniceva) were under enormous pressure to perform.
"What sticks out in my mind was how intense we trained - from the gym sessions right to the field sessions.
"That's the main thing I got out of that - like anything, hard work gets the results."
Walters arrived in France in 2009 and, after a slow start to the Super League season with just one win from their first six games, the Dragons fell just one match short of the grand final.
"Kevvie was Kevvie, and we trained hard, and when we won we had a good time," Mogg said.
"The biggest thing I learnt under Kevvie is that attitude is a big part of the game.
"He wasn't a real structured type of coach, but he persisted on attitude."
Walters has certainly made it clear that attitude will be a cornerstone of his tenure at the Maroons.
He suspended Ben Hunt, Anthony Milford, Dylan Napa, Valentine Holmes, Cameron Munster, Jarrod Wallace, Edrick Lee and Chris Grevsmuhl from playing Origin this year, after they broke curfew during his Emerging Maroons camp in February.
It was Walters' emphasis on having a strong attitude which saw Catalans overcome some pretty steep obstacles while Mogg was there.
"When I arrived it was a fledgling club - we had limited resources, limited medical resources and limited equipment," Mogg said.
"But it was a really good group of guys over there - the French guys were great and the Aussie guys were great, and we just worked hard.
"That was where we got our success from.
"The French guys didn't know any different - they had come from local French sides, into the Super League. They hadn't seen flash gyms and medical systems.
"The challenge for us was to lift the intensity and train hard, and that was what we did."
Now in 2016, after receiving a sought-after opportunity as head coach at Redcliffe, Mogg is instilling a similar hard-working ethos, which he learned under the likes of Meninga and Walters.
It seems to be going okay, with the team winning its fifth consecutive game last weekend.
Mogg admitted there was a long way to go, but said he planned to use the same recipe that has brought Queensland so much success.
"Queensland has had a very good team for a long time, but it (Origin) is still a tough arena, and they've managed to consistently play well," he said.
"That's on the back of nothing but hard work."