Bulldogs prop Aidan Tolman drew the attention of Andrew Fifita and Aaron Woods last Sunday. Credit: Colin Whelan. Copyright: NRL Photos.
He's had three goes at the City-Country fixture but Bulldogs prop Aiden Tolman remains clueless on what exactly he has to do to get the attention of NSW selectors.
Tolman, 25, made his representative breakthrough back in 2011 when he was handed his first Country jumper. But three years on and the Kempsey product still doesn't know whether he's truly on the Origin radar because he's never really been spoken to about it.
"And I wouldn't expect them to," a humble Tolman told NRL.com. "There are other guys out there that miss out as well. I really enjoyed playing City-Country. For me it's a great game and who knows what brings at the end of it – I'm sure some guys in those two teams will get picked for Origin.
"At the end of the day if you're putting your hand up and doing your best at club level, you're putting your best foot forward to get picked."
As evidenced by their snug position at the top of the League ladder, the Bulldogs have proven to be the best team in the NRL after eight rounds. Canterbury-Bankstown had 12 players involved across the four representative games last weekend, and judging by some of their form across the board there are strong cases for a number of their players to make Laurie Daley's line-up for State of Origin I. Someone like standout five-eighth Josh Reynolds and field goal expert Trent Hodkinson.
"Trent Hodkinson has been unreal," offered clubmate and City prop David Klemmer. "He's a strong little guy and if he got the opportunity to represent in anything, he wouldn't let anyone down.
"We'd just have to see what the selectors are thinking. If they do pick 'Grubby' [Josh Reynolds] at six, Queensland will be in for a hard day in the office. He'd be aggressive and up in their face."
And Tolman is another who wouldn't look out of place in a blue jumper. But with the likes of James Tamou, Andrew Fifita and Aaron Woods in front of him, the former Melbourne frontman knows he's in a long queue.
Yet it's not as though he's short of big game experience, having played in two grand finals – one with the Bulldogs in 2012, and another in Storm colours in 2009.
"I wouldn't say it makes me more hungry," he said of his annual snub. "I enjoy the [representative week] week and I really want to play Origin so I don't think it makes me any more hungry.
"It's one of those things you can't really control. As long as I'm playing well for the Dogs, thing will happen. And if they don't, I've got to continue to keep turning up. That's footy. There's other guys there that miss out too so I'm sure they'd be disappointed as much as me."
What he won't fall in the trap of doing is changing his game in order to gain the attention of Laurie Daley.
"I've got to play well for the Dogs, I've got a role here to do. I'm not changing my game just to get picked in those sides. It's my first priority here to play club football, after that those things happen," he said.
And according to Klemmer, those things should happen now.
"He's been leading us around the park and he's the sort of player I look up to every week," he said. "He deserves it – he's State of Origin material. From the start of the season he's been playing unreal. It's to the selectors. I just know he won't let anyone down if picked."