Back-rower Boyd Cordner proved he is State of Origin-ready in his comeback for the Sydney Roosters in their 24-16 NRL loss to Manly on Friday night, according to the premiers’ coach Trent Robinson.
The Kangaroos’ star made an almost immediate impact in his first game in six weeks since suffering an ankle injury in the round-10 loss to North Queensland.
With just his second touch, Cordner scored off a Mitchell Pearce short ball to put the Roosters ahead for the first time in the match shortly before halftime.
He finished the match with 53m from seven runs and 28 tackles.
The 22-year-old Cordner missed the first two Origin games for NSW, but is a likely selection for Origin III, as the Blues chase their first series clean sweep since 2000.
Anthony Watmough is suspended and his Blues teammate Trent Merrin is in doubt with a knee injury.
Robinson said he was impressed with Cordner’s effort, first up.
“I thought after the layoff, he got back in well,” he said.
“(That was a) great execution of the play (for the try).
“He worked really hard; he had a strong game tonight. I can’t remember exactly – I think it was 55 minutes.
“I thought he did well … with shoulder injuries, you can run but not being able to run with an ankle injury (is tough) so credit to the staff and to him to get back to that.”
Pressed on whether he thought Cordner was prepared to return for NSW, Robinson said: “I think he proved that”.
NSW coach Laurie Daley on Tuesday will announce his side for Game III at Suncorp Stadium on July 9, after wrapping up NSW’s first series win since 2005 with a 12-8 win in Game I and a 6-4 victory in Game II.
Queensland coach Mal Meninga will name his side on Monday.