Queensland lock Jai Arrow has backed unheralded "freak of nature" Moeaki Fotuaika to announce himself as part of the Maroons' new-look forward pack as the side laps up underdog status for next month's State of Origin.
The 20-year-old Gold Coast forward has snuck under the radar despite powering the Titans pack over the past three seasons.
He's among 17 uncapped players in the Maroons 27-man squad in camp on the Gold Coast primed to make names for themselves in next Wednesday's series opener in Adelaide.
Coach Wayne Bennett is stretched for options in a backline ravaged by injury, with the star-studded NSW overwhelming favourites to win a third straight series as a result.
But the emergence of Fotuaika, Jayden Su'a, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Lindsay Collins and Dunamis Lui gives Bennett an embarrassment of riches in an engine room led by Jai Arrow, Josh Papalii, Christian Welch, a fit-again Coen Hess and Felise Kaufusi.
"I'll leave the criticism to the so-called experts, but we've got strike all over the park," Arrow said on Tuesday.
"Moey's not the loudest bloke in the world, keeps to himself, but has been tremendous for us the last three years (at the Titans).
"I'm very glad he's here, he deserves it and after a breakout season people are starting to notice him and the scary thing is he's only 20 years old.
"He could have another 15 years here; he's a freak of nature old Moey."
Fotuaika said he's taken plenty from watching Arrow carve his own path to a Maroons jersey by impressing for the Titans.
"He's the most relaxed bloke, then you get on the field and he wants to rip people's heads off," he said.
"If the opportunity comes I just have to believe in myself and my abilities.
"The amount of talent in the forwards is good for us and the boys are enjoying that underdog tag, embracing it."
Papalii has assumed the role of leader, admitting in his debut year alongside Matt Scott and Nate Myles he "didn't have to do much, just wear the jersey".
"A lot of people have spoken about what they (NSW) have and what they've got going on," he said.
"But our guys are young, hungry and just want to play footy.
"There's no doubt they can handle this occasion; Wayne's smart enough to not pick players that can't handle it."
Melbourne's premiership-winning quartet Brenko Lee, Cameron Munster, Fa'asuamaleaui, Welch and Kaufusi will join camp on Wednesday alongside Penrith utility Kurt Capewell, who could fill a gap for the Maroons in the centres.
* Kalyn Ponga, Michael Morgan, David Fifita, Dylan Napa, Moses Mbye, Kyle Feldt (injured), Valentine Holmes (suspended for game one), Tim Gladsby (retired), Ethan Lowe (injured, retired), Will Chambers (code-switched to rugby).
Australian Associated Press