South Sydney playmaker Luke Keary grew up cheering on Brisbane heroes Allan Langer and Darren Lockyer but will have no problem putting his former love for the Broncos to one side on Thursday night.
Keary will come up against the club he barracked for as a child for the first time when the competition favourites meet the Broncos at ANZ Stadium.
Keary was born and raised in Queensland before moving to Sydney with his family at the age of 10.
He grew up aspiring to wear the Broncos’ maroon, gold and white jumper like fellow Ipswich product Langer and only shifted allegiances to the Rabbitohs when he signed with the Redfern club in 2012.
“I grew up supporting (Brisbane) but moved here when I was fairly young,” he said.
“I haven’t had a chance to play them so it’ll be a big game on Thursday night.
“They’re coming off a really good performance so we’re looking forward to it.”
Keary was never on the Broncos’ radar since he left their system in his junior days.
The 22-year-old’s season has been hampered by a pectoral injury suffered in the Auckland Nines which kept him out until late July.
He has been strong over the last two weeks since being handed the starting five-eighth duties following a knee injury to captain John Sutton.
Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire will have a dilemma on his hands when Sutton returns within the next two to three weeks over whether to continue to start Keary or shift Sutton to the back-row.
“Hopefully we get Sutto back in the next couple of weeks, so I’m just filling that void there while he’s gone,” Keary said.
“We’ll see what happens when he comes back … Sutto’s done the job for a lot of years now and he’s a special player and he’s our leader. We look forward to getting him back.”
After being described as predictable by Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett a week ago, the Souths attack looked crisp under Keary’s guidance in their win over Manly on Friday night.
Hooker Issac Luke said Keary had handled himself well since being given a spot in the starting 13.
“Obviously I had a lot of time with Renno (halfback Adam Reynolds),” he said.
“And Lukey is a player on the rise … We all get on well and when Sutto comes back hopefully we can still keep winning.”