Bradman Best, the promising NRL player from the Newcastle Knights, had a significant wake-up call that ultimately led to his selection for the New South Wales (NSW) State of Origin team. The turning point came when Best and his teammate, Enari Tuala, were absent from the team bus during an away trip to Brisbane last August. When they finally arrived, clearly worse for wear, Coach Adam O’Brien and Director of Football Peter Parr decided to teach them a lesson. As a result, Best was dropped from a side already dealing with the fallout from the Kalyn Ponga–Kurt Mann toilet incident. Best acknowledged this moment as a low point and expressed disappointment in himself for letting down the team and club. He knew he had to make changes in the offseason and focused on training harder than ever before.
Despite the setback, Best used the experience as an opportunity to have honest conversations with team officials about reaching his full potential. He recognised that talent alone would not be enough and understood the importance of hard work. These conversations proved to be a turning point for Best, as he embraced a new mentality and began to strive for excellence.
The highlight of Best’s journey came when he received a life-changing call from NSW coach Brad Fittler. Best initially ignored an unfamiliar number but decided to answer when it appeared again the following morning. Fittler informed him that he had been selected to represent NSW, and Best described the moment as surreal and the realization of his dreams.
Best’s selection for the Blues was the culmination of years of anticipation and anticipation. He had played for the Blues’ under-16 side in 2017, scoring a match-sealing try that set the stage for his eventual inclusion in the senior team. While his hat-trick in Newcastle’s dominant victory over Canterbury solidified his position, it was his changed attitude and dedication to improving that ultimately made the difference.
A trip to Bali in May also provided Best with a fresh perspective. Despite the media’s criticism of the Newcastle players for their trip overseas during a bye week, Best clarified that he was the only member of the squad who traveled abroad. During his time there, he assisted a local named Yoki in building a house for his family. Best emphasised that his trip was far from a boozy vacation but rather a meaningful experience helping someone in need.
Fittler, who had previously coached Best at the junior Origin level, believed that Best had displayed enough potential to secure his place in the team. Fittler acknowledged Best’s unique abilities and recognised that he had worked hard to improve certain aspects of his game. Despite playing in a struggling team, Best had consistently contributed to their success. The timing was also in Best’s favor, with several centers sidelined due to injuries, paving the way for his selection.
Overall, Best’s journey from being dropped from the Newcastle side to representing NSW in the State of Origin showcases the power of personal growth and the ability to overcome obstacles. He learned from his mistakes, put in the hard work, and seized the opportunities presented to him. Now, he has the chance to fulfill his potential as a representative player and make a significant contribution to the NSW team.