You only need to spend five minutes with Brett Newby to realise how much his selection in the Touch Football New South Wales State of Origin men's 60s team means to him.
The Port Macquarie veteran thought the days of representing his state had passed him by when he had to miss the selection trials in April due to attending a friend's wedding in Melbourne.
The return date from the wedding fell on the last day of the trials.
"I thought that was it; I thought the opportunity had passed," Newby said
"I've never played for the Blues before and have been playing touch and rep touch for 25 years. I've gotten into a couple of squads, but it's always been a hard nut to crack."
A few weeks after the completion of the trials he received a phone call from coach Keith Rozairo of an injury to a teammate and the position was his if he wanted it.
The opportunity to pull on the sky blue was there in front of him and the 60-year-old had little hesitation in accepting the offer.
"I've strived harder to get there the older I've gotten so it's really pleasing to finally get there," he said.
"Everybody that plays touch at the representative level strives for that top goal and for me it's New South Wales. It's the top, it's where you want to be."
Newby said his call-up to the team was as much of a milestone in his life as his family - that's how much emphasis he places on it.
"It's something that is really important to my life; it still hasn't hit me that I've made it," he said.
"Fortunately for me it's the first year they're having the 60s. It goes up every year and the 55s have been going for five years and now we've got the 60s and here I am."
The series is set down for C.Ex Coffs International Stadium on June 18 and 19 and he can't wait to run out although there are still nerves.
"I just want to play my best and not embarrass myself, but most importantly really enjoy it because I really enjoy playing the game and can't wait to play at this level," he said.
"I don't want to let anyone down so come the day when I run onto the field that's when I'll realise I'll be there.
"It means everything to me."
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