Twelve kilometre trots to the closest bitumen road as a kid have helped Angus Crichton forge one of the biggest motors on show in Wednesday's Origin series opener.
Telstra Tracker data obtained by NRL.com reveals that Crichton's weekly average of 7.5 km running for the Roosters is the highest output of any NSW or Queensland forwards bar No.9s Damien Cook and Ben Hunt – players Crichton outweighs by 14 kilos.
Crichton's efforts see him run further than several outside backs and halves for both states, and have the 23-year-old running two kilometres more than the 5.3km edge forwards averaged across the NRL last year.
The impressive numbers of course don't translate into top form.
Blues coach Brad Fittler wrote last week for Fairfax Media that "people will be angry that we've picked Angus Crichton, because he hasn't been going great for the Roosters … But that's where loyalty comes in."
Crichton too says his endless efforts simply "go hand-in-hand with being a back-rower and getting through a mountain of work".
But ahead of a fourth Origin outing off Fittler's bench – which proved a pivotal aspect of last year's game one win in Melbourne – Crichton explained the homespun country training methods behind his impressive engine.
"Before I went to (Sydney boarding school) Scots I would've been 11 or 12 and I used to do sprints down the driveway with my old man," Crichton told NRL.com.
"He had the hundred metres marked up on the old dirt road. And I'd be jogging down to the closest bitumen road – six km there, six km back. That'd be the long one, and then the mailbox run was a bit shorter.
"Living on a farm with two little sisters, there wasn't a hell of a lot of tackling or knee footy to be played but I had room to run.
"Dad always said, the fitter you are, the more opportunity you get in a game and that's something I still keep in mind today.
"I guess I've always been pretty fit and a pretty hard worker. You see guys like Boyd Cordner, Sam Burgess you see the work they do and that's where I'm trying to get to there."
Crichton also happily reports that his father Charlie would join him for sprints, "until I started beating him".
Same goes for tackling practice, which came to a halt after "I picked him up and dropped him straight on his head".
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 1 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
- Nine Network
Crichton's efforts off the ball so far for the Roosters are yet to translate into traditional on-ball rugby league numbers, with his run metres (124 per game in 2018 compared to 89 in 2019) and runs (14.8 to 11) dropping since departing the Rabbitohs.
In defence though he is matching his 2018 average of 34 tackles per game, with less missed tackles and errors.
His 2019-season high of 8.7km covered against the Dragons sits equal-fifth with club and state captain Cordner among this year's Origin contingent.
Meanwhile his 40 high speed efforts (sprints at over 20 km/hr) against Brisbane sit behind only playmakers Nathan Cleary, James Tedesco and Moses Mbye this year.
"I'm just trying to keep going right up until the whistle like you're taught as a kid," Crichton said.
"If that means running eight and a half, nine kilometres, so be it. It's just what you do for your team, you don't think about the k's you're putting in. But I am putting the effort in, you can say that, I'm definitely doing whatever I can."