You would have thought that Ashley Graham would be one of those players that was a solid player, but not quite there, in regards to playing Origin footy.
This year however, with the injury to QLD incumbent Jharal Yow Yeh, there is a vacant wing spot – with Graham, one of the in-form wingers in the NRL, hoping that he can get the nod to play for QLD in Game 1.
There are two people in his way for that berth, though, with his team-mate Brent Tate and Melbourne winger Dane Nielsen also both in good form – meaning that QLD coach Mal Meninga has a tough decision to make.
Meninga was full if plaudits for Graham, saying in Rugby League Week, “”I think Ash’s time has come … he is steady and reliable and I think he can do a job for us”.
Graham himself has not read or heard those comments, but he is pleased that he is in the selectors minds.
“I didn’t see it but I’ve been told about it. Hearing those things coming from the coach is obviously a good indication that you’re being considered for the team,” Graham said.
“Obviously I want to be in the team. I want to play Origin footy.
“I guess I’ve probably played the best footy that I have in my career. I’ve given myself every opportunity to get picked in the side. We just have to wait and see now what happens.
“But Tatey has been playing good footy too the last few weeks. He has played Origin footy before and been in that arena and performed. It’s a decision for the selectors.”
With another final chance to stake his claim for an Origin berth in tonight’s clash against the Newcastle Knights, the Cowboys centre knows that he has to do his job on the wing, and hope for the best.
“I can only go out there and try to continue the footy I’ve been playing for the first nine or 10 rounds of the competition and hopefully get myself a spot in the team,” he said.
“Obviously my form has been not too bad for the first few rounds of the season.
“I’ve been happy with that, but when you’ve got guys like JT and Matty Bowen inside you it makes scoring tries pretty easy. They create things and I’m just there to finish things off.”