At well over six feet tall (187cm), weighing in at 113kg and with a fearsome reputation from his younger days as an explosive, game-changing back-rower, Cowboys forward Patrick Mago has the physical tools to play National Rugby League.
But the quietly spoken Brisbane product reckons it’s between the ears he needs to improve on if he's to have the sort of top-flight career he so covets.
Mago – who this week spent time on the basketball court with Aitkenvale State School students as part of the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys’ Adopt-a-School program – says he's loving being part of the club’s NRL squad.
“I’m in my second year at the Cowboys and I’m loving it,” Mago, 22, said.
“I wouldn’t be here if my aim wasn’t to play NRL in the future so my goal at the moment is to play consistent footy with the (Northern) Pride.”
Mago’s affiliation with the Cairns-based Queensland Cup team is a new one after he spent 2016 playing for Cowboys feeder team Mackay Cutters, where he had a mixed year.
The two-time Junior Kangaroos and former Canberra under-20s player found himself in trouble several times with the judiciary, with a high-grade dangerous throw ending his season prematurely as he copped a seven-match suspension.
Aware of the need to control his on-field aggression, Mago said he has been working hard at keeping his cool on the field, especially when fatigued.
“That’s when I make poor decisions, under fatigue,” he said.
“It’s something I’m aware of and something we train for, so this year, I’m working at transferring that into something else positive on the field, whether it be a good run or support (play) or tackle.”
Mago punched out 60-plus minutes for the Pride in their tight 20-18 loss to Wynnum Manly in Brisbane on Saturday, and will line up for coach Ty Williams against the Sunshine Coast Falcons at Barlow Park on Saturday.