Cordner not where he wants to be in 2014
Former Clive Churchill medallist and Kangaroos assistant coach Craig Fitzgibbon has revealed that Roosters star Boyd Cordner - named in the run-on side for Friday night's Test - doesn't believe his form is up to the standards of last year.
Fitzgibbon, who also doubles as a Roosters assistant coach, believes the sky is the limit for the Kangaroos second-rower, despite the high standards Cordner places on his own form.
"He thinks he's not going as good as last year at this stage," Fitzgibbon told NRL.com. "Each week he's been improving. He had such a big year for such a young kid. World Cup tour at the end of it, and then straight back into this year, he hasn't missed a beat so far.
"From the Roosters' point of view, we're happy with his development. He's got more in him, I think.
"He's capable of being a mainstay in these [representative] teams for a long period of time. He's already such an accomplished player for his age; he started training at first-grade with us when he was 16, and he looked every inch a first-grader back then. To have him already achieve what he has at his age – who knows what the future holds for him."
With the 21-year-old selected to play for the Kangaroos over the likes of Andrew Fifita and Josh Papalii, Cordner admitted that he felt his form was down this season, although he went on to note that the smile hasn't been wiped off his face since finding out he would be playing against the Kiwis on Friday night.
"The last few games have been pretty good for me and I've been happy but us as a team, the Roosters, we haven't started off the season well and I wasn't really impressed with my own form but, like I said, in the last few weeks it's been a lot better," Cordner said.
"It's definitely overwhelming to come into a side like this. They're all superstars. Rugby league's a rollercoaster so I'm very grateful to be giving this opportunity and I want to grab it with both hands.
"I can't really describe how I'm feeling at the moment and I'm just excited to get out there and play already on Friday night."
The softly-spoken Cordner will be looking to impress Tim Sheens with an eye on the post-season Four Nations tournament. Yet with his club assistant coach in Fitzgibbon by his side, the ball is well and truly in Cordner's court.
"He has sweet timing on those edge plays there. He's not just a line runner; he plays with such toughness," Fitzgibbon said.
"He combines the nice edge plays and, as most top quality back-rowers have, the ability to have nice lines and play like that. But he's got raw toughness. He's a unique blend of player."