Secret of New South Wales' Hoffman's success
JOE BARTON AND IAN MCCULLOUGH
Ryan Hoffman says the secret to his successful return to the NSW fold materialised when he stopped trying to prove to everybody he deserved to be there.
Now 29, the Melbourne secondrower believes he's in a significantly better position to make an impact in State of Origin than when he was picked in 2007-8.
Back then, he says, he was too caught up in trying to be something he wasn't.
"I was trying too hard to prove to people I was an Origin player," Hoffman told AAP.
"Instead I should've been going out and doing what I did with the Melbourne Storm.
"Maybe I was worrying too much about what people thought about me and what the media were saying.
"But it's more important to worry about things I can control than things I can't.
"At Melbourne we embody what Origin players are all about - and that's doing your job, doing it well and doing it best under adversity.
"All I need to focus on is doing that.
"(Blues coach Laurie Daley) isn't expecting me to do anything I'm not doing for my club, he just expects me to do it better."
The key to Hoffman's turnaround, and his elevation into the NSW starting lineup despite the Blues' unquestionable depth in the back row, is some new-found maturity.
He spent the 2011 season playing with Wigan in the English Super League, cast off by the Storm in the wake of their salary cap scandal of 2010.
But having successfully reunited with the Storm, winning a premiership the following season, Hoffman believes that experience has changed his outlook on life and football.
"It comes from experience and comes from maturity," he said.
"That's what I think going over to the UK helped with, I've come back a much more mature and better footballer.
"I still read newspapers, I still watch the news. But getting older you realise what's important and what isn't."