Tabuai-Fidow lands Origin return after Dolphins move
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow knows the fishing will never be as good in Redcliffe.
But it's more about the company as the Dolphins' flyer combats fears of homesickness after leaving his comfort zone in a move that's catapulted him back into a Maroons jersey.
The Cairns product knew what he was in for after a rugby scholarship stint at Brisbane Grammar was cut short when the North Queensland Cowboys came calling.
But even in Townsville he had the support of Merv and Charity Ackers, who hosted him in their family home for two years as he broke into the NRL.
In Brisbane he knew "barely anyone", but ahead of Wednesday's State of Origin opener says leaving the Cowboys to play under Wayne Bennett at the NRL's new club this year was the right call.
"It was (a risk) because I didn't know what would happen and that was the one thing I was thinking about, if I did sign," the 21-year-old told AAP of his homesickness concerns.
"My parents were really supportive of me and backed the decision and I still call them every day and check up on them and let them know I'm going good.
"And they're loving the way I'm playing footy."
He said Dolphins hooker Jeremy Marshall-King had become a close friend, the pair wetting a line together when not linking up for tries on the weekends.
"We're pretty close now," he said.
"He's made it really comfortable for me, living down here on my own.
"You can't beat up north but there's been some snapper, tuna recently ... we're still trying to find the good spots around Moreton Bay."
Tabuai-Fidow has flourished at fullback for the Dolphins but will play in the centres for Billy Slater's Maroons, like he did in his only Origin game two years ago.
The speedster will occupy the left edge in a tasty match-up with Blues dangerman Tom Trbojevic.
Trbojevic is back after terrorising Queensland in the 2021 series, although he was kept quiet in a final-game loss that marked Tabuai-Fidow's debut.
"Billy picking me at centre, that gives me a huge confidence boost and big trust from him and in myself," Tabuai-Fidow said.
While an obvious battle of the speedsters, Queensland teammate Jai Arrow said Tabuai-Fidow was armed with more than that.
"His strength as well; everyone underestimates Hammer's strength," he said.
"Obviously Tommy is a bit taller but I will back Hammer's speed any day of the week, and his strength.
"Trbojevic did the job in the centres in 2021, so it's a great challenge for Hammer and he is looking forward to it."