Blake Leary might have been born in Mona Vale but the likeable back-rower remains a ‘country kid at heart’.
Although his birth papers make him a New South Welshman, Leary will tell you he is a proud Queenslander at any opportunity, especially around now at Origin time.
“I grew up in a little place called Cedar Creek. It is in the hinterlands on the Gold Coast and then I moved to Mermaid Beach when I was 16,’’ Leary said.
“I played league for a few teams. My last team would have been the Nerang Roosters.”
Leary smiles when he talks of ‘the mighty Nerang Roosters’. It brings back memories of his junior days with family and friends.
The talented forward, who has played lock, second-row, and hooker in his two seasons at the Sea Eagles, will be looking to create new memories when he heads ‘home’ to the Gold Coast this weekend.
Leary will come off the bench on Monday night for the Sea Eagles in the must win game against the Gold Coast Titans – a club he once wore the colours of.
“I played SG Ball for the Titans and then had two years with the Melbourne Storm,’’ Leary said.
“From there, I went up north to the Nth Qld Cowboys, and then to the Northern Pride, before joining Manly.
“It will be good to get back to the Gold Coast and to see family and friends. I haven’t seen Mum and Dad in a while. Hopefully I can turn in a good performance in front of them.”
As for his childhood, the likeable Leary revealed some memories.
“There were about 140 kids at my school when I was in Year 7,’’ he said.
“It was a real change for me coming down from Cedar Creek to the big city lights of the Gold Coast.
“Really, I’m just a country kid at heart.
“We lived on 13 acres. We had horses, so you can imagine me getting out there with my cowboy hat on.”