Murray mentally ‘messed up’ after Origin
HE has played 25 NRL and three State of Origin games this year but a candid Cameron Murray has revealed it was his mind not his body struggling with fatigue.
The South Sydney workhorse, who has missed only one game in 2019 to representative duties, revealed a gruelling period over the mid-season left him 'messed up' mentally.
"It's been more of a shock mentally than it has been physically. Especially through the origin period. I always knew a period like that in the middle of the season would be really tough. But I didn't know what to expect or how hard it would be until I was in that position," Murray said.
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"Mentally, just the strain of going from camp one week then back into club and playing only after a couple of days rest.
"The highs and lows, the ups and downs and the inconsistency of the routine messed me around a bit.
While playing for the NSW Blues was a childhood dream realised, it left Murray in uncharted territory. The Mascot Jets junior is a stickler for routine and being called on for Origin meant a disruption, that at the time, he was ill-equipped to handle.
"Being a person who relies on routine to build confidence and to prepare… I didn't know what to expect or how to handle it," he revealed.
"I didn't know how to build a routine that would work for me.
So the 21-year old turned to his club coach Wayne Bennett for support and guidance through the first real challenge of his young career.
"Wayne is someone who I turn too because I know he has been through everything as a coach. He spoke about having a passion outside of football, having something that allows you to completely switch off," Murray said.
"I tried to do that as best as I could. It's refreshed my mind and my mental state. It's something I hadn't done before, I wasn't real big on that.
"I have found peace where I needed to find peace."
While Murray still hasn't discovered a genuine passion away from rugby league he did find his 'peace' in the unlikeliest place, on a family-run acreage in Braidwood where he travelled after winning the Origin series.
"I went down to a little family farm just past the Southern Highlands. I was there for a couple of nights and that really helped. It's really quiet down there and I loved it," he said.
"Whenever I feel like it is all getting a bit too much here in the city, I'll look to go down there again."
Murray might be a workhorse on the field but away from it, he is a self-proclaimed 'princess' and admitted he wasn't too keen on getting his 'hands dirty' on the farm.
"I tried to do the things it takes to manage the farm, we were feeding some cattle and riding some bikes." he said.
"I'm a bit of a princess, but hopefully I can work out the trade after a couple of trips down there. I enjoyed the peace and serenity of the country more."
But learning to deal with mental fatigue was only one part of the boom lock forward's psychological rejuvenation.
Murray also revealed he's done away with the 'ego' driven goal to play 80 minutes straight in the middle of the field.
"At the beginning of the season I was telling myself I wanted to be that 80-minute player in the middle but I've realised quality not quantity is important. I've worked out now it's naive and selfish of me to push out minutes if I'm not producing quality," he said.
Murray didn't take part in Tuesday's field session at Redfern Oval but will be ready to take on Canberra in Friday night's preliminary final at GIO Stadium.
"I've got little niggles here and there … the coaching staff are working with a few individuals, like myself, to make sure we are as fresh as possible," he said.
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