Childhood dream come true for Dalby's McCullough
QUEENSLAND Maroons hooker Andrew McCullough can advocate that dreams do come true, after his State of Origin call-up.
The long-time Broncos rake was named in the Queensland side on Monday to play Game 1 in Melbourne next Wednesday.
After missing the back end of last season due to a knee injury, McCullough's rise to the Queensland side has been a result of plenty of hard work.
McCullough said the past fortnight had been a different challenge for him, maintaining focus among media speculation.
"It was hard because I had never been in that position before but I knew, if I just did the best I could for the Broncos and put my best foot forward, those other things come along," McCullough said.
"It was an unusual situation but I tried to focus the best I could and I chatted to a few good people and they just said to concentrate on the Broncos."
He was overcome with emotion when he received his call-up earlier in the week and was able to share the moment with his wife.
"First it was excitement, followed by emotions," he said.
"I was crying, my partner was crying and you just think back to all of the hard work and sacrifices.
"I am very lucky and privileged to play in this jersey, and especially the number nine jersey and, being a kid from Dalby, I can say dreams do come true.
"Hopefully I can inspire one kid out there to hopefully pull on the Maroons' jersey."
For McCullough's parents, Wendy and Graeme, it was a long wait to finally hear of their son's success.
The pair heard of the news from Andrew, 15 hours after the announcement, due to them being on an international flight.
Graeme said it was a surreal experience learning his son would play State of Origin.
"We didn't know because we turned off our phones roughly around the same time as the team was announced," he said.
"It probably hasn't sunk in yet.
"He has worked so hard to overcome injuries to be in this position.
"It is very hard to explain the emotions."
Next Wednesday's game will be the first time Andrew McCullough has been to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
An outstanding performance in this year's State of Origin series will put McCullough in prime position to be named Australian hooker.