Cameron Murray, the man seen as the future captain of South Sydney, almost memorised a poem from Wayne Bennett's book The Man In The Mirror.
It was scribbled on his mirror in his bedroom and he would read it every time he brushed his teeth or left his room.
Middle man: Cameron Murray has a big role to play for South Sydney this season.Credit:James Brickwood
So when Bennett himself arrived at Redfern before Christmas, Murray quickly realised the messages from that poem and his book were exactly what the super coach preached in real life.
"I see a lot of parallels with what was scribbled on my mirror and the philosophies Wayne has brought to the club," said Murray.
"I didn't read his book but I knew that poem. If I was tested on it now I'd get 80 per cent of it right.
"What stuck with me was being really honest with yourself. That's the most important thing in this world, and since Wayne got here, that's exactly what he has pushed, being honest to yourself and sticking to your morals and standing for something.
"It's good to smile, it's good to be nice to people.
I'm stoked Wayne put the the trust in me and Sam's put the trust in me
"Wayne brought a lot of philosophies I probably subconsciously believed in, but now he's brought it to life. I feel like it's something I've been living my life, trying to be better than the day before.
"Wayne cares about you on and off the field, he cares about you improving as a person before you improve as a footy player."
Bennett was happy to move Sam Burgess to an edge, but what made the positional switch easier was having a player like Murray ready to wear the No.13 jersey.
Man in the middle: Cameron Murray is viewed as a future leader at South Sydney.Credit:James Brickwood
Burgess is a big fan of Murray, who will lock down the scrum at the SCG on Friday night and told the Herald: "He respects the game, he has a great attitude, and he's a good man. Those qualities are good, and they're not everywhere, especially in today's game."
Murray also praised his high-profile English teammate for his guidance.
"I'm stoked Wayne put the the trust in me and Sam's put the trust in me because he would have had a say [in the move] as well," Murray said.
"I'm not taking anything for granted. I won't slacken off at training. I want to keep proving to myself that I'm worthy of that spot and I'm up to it.
"Sam is a big believer in backing yourself. He's one of the mentally strongest people I've met and he speaks to me about the person I need to be in such a high-pressured environment like the NRL. As you get older, he talks about taking on new leadership roles and how you need to think about the well-being of the team and cohesion. I'll often look to him for guidance and think, 'what would Sam do in this situation?'. I'm lucky to have someone as strong minded and who leads like Sam in my team."
Murray, who attended the prestigious Newington College – and captained the first XV in his final year – has also led the NSW Origin under-18s and under-20s teams.
Which is why Souths general manager of football Shane Richardson is convinced it will not be a matter of not if but when Murray, 21, emerges as the club's next captain.
Not one to read about his own hype and talk of being an NSW Origin bolter, Murray was fortunate to land an internship with Macquarie Bank, which had in the past normally been won by rugby stars such as Wallabies Rob Horne and Dave Dennis.
His father Corey, a bus driver who played a dozen games for Souths back in the early 1990s, could not be prouder of his son who has now quickly adjusted to life under three different coaches in as many seasons in the top flight.
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