As one of the most improved players in the NRL in 2020, it was hardly surprising to see Roosters hard man Lindsay Collins rewarded with a Queensland Maroons Origin jersey at season’s end.
A series win on debut coupled with an off-season in the Sunshine State was the perfect ending to a year many would say was his best so far in Roosters colours, and the 24-year-old says the experience was one that will resonate with him for the rest of his career.
“It was a pretty surreal experience,” he said of the ground-breaking 2020 State of Origin series.
“When we were all presented with training jerseys, there was a jersey with the names of Former Origin Greats (FOGs) on it.
“When I saw that, it was pretty humbling, realising my name would be there in the future.”
For most, the high intensity and attrition of the Origin arena can be daunting to even comprehend, let alone experience. However, for Collins, that was the exact experience he was hoping for, which was made even better alongside fellow Rooster and mentor Jake Friend.
“In my first tackle I got bumped off and put on my arse,” Collins laughed.
“The intensity was up there, and to be around high-calibre players on both sides of the field was awesome to be a part of.
“It was a hard three games but that’s the type of footy I enjoy – those gritty, challenging games that go right down to the wire.
“I’ve been here at the Roosters for the last five years and ‘Nug’ (Friend) is the pinnacle of toughness. It (Origin) complemented his style of game, and to both represent the Roosters and do that alongside him as well, it was a childhood dream come true.”
Capping off a whirlwind year, there was no better place to wind down for Collins than back home in Queensland, particularly after the enduring months spent in the strict conditions of the NRL covid-19 ‘bubble’.
To represent the Roosters and do that alongside him as well, it was a childhood dream come trueLindsay Collins Roosters Prop
“The off-season was awesome. We were up on the Gold Coast for camp, and after that, I stayed up there for two months with family and friends,” he explained.
“It was a really good time. Usually, you get away overseas but we couldn’t really do that with covid-19.
“The two weeks over Christmas is usually pretty rushed and you’re running around and seeing everyone, but it was a nice two months to see family that I hadn’t seen in a while.”
Despite the on-field jubilation, the best news for the rangy front-rower came in the form of the impending arrival of another addition to the Collins clan.
“About a year ago my younger brother was born, and I’ve got another sibling due in April,” he said, beaming with pride.
“It’s exciting. We’re not sure if it’s a boy or a girl, but we’ve got a lot of boys in the family and my sister is hanging out for a girl so we’ll wait and see.”