Tupou effort screams Blues jersey
Towering Roosters winger Daniel Tupou has bagged a try-scoring double for the second time in six days, and even if he doesn't think he deserves a NSW jumper, plenty of others are starting to take notice.
Following on from his heroics for City Origin in Dubbo last week – where the 6'5" winger outleapt the opposition for his first and displayed a unique blend of footwork and power to skate down the touchline for his second – he added two more in his side's 30-6 win over Wests Tigers on Friday night.
His power was on display again in the first when he opted to trample over the top of diminutive Wests Tigers fullback Kurtis Rowe rather than evade him, while the second was an unopposed passage to the line from a quality James Maloney cutout pass.
He also sent Blues and Kangaroos back-rower Boyd Cordner over when another Maloney cutout sent Tupou into space and he drew the fullback before finding Cordner.
"I guess if the opportunity comes I'll take it with two hands but I'm just focusing on playing good footy for the club," Tupou told NRL.com after the game while being quizzed about his Origin chances.
He added the week in camp with City and a debut senior representative jumper had boosted his confidence.
"That week was pretty good, playing with new players. The week was pretty smooth and I had fun. That kind of gave me a bit of confidence, playing with new guys," he said.
The fact that there are some NSW incumbents among his teammates also isn't lost on him.
"For me it's awesome just playing outside those guys that played for NSW last year; that makes my job easier playing of the back of them," Tupou said.
And that encapsulates another factor playing strongly into Tupou's hands – likely Blues halves Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney know his game, and his inside centre at the Roosters, Michael Jennings, is all but guaranteed to retain his spot for the Blues, which would open the door for Jennings and Tupou to take their devastating left-side attack to the representative arena.
As has been widely discussed, NSW are currently seeing an avalanche of left-side wingers in form, including incumbent and Kangaroos flanker Brett Morris and Sea Eagle Jorge Taufua.
However with his 23 tries in 18 games for the Kangaroos coming largely on the right side, Morris could easily form a right-side partnership with his brother Josh. Tupou's second try for City came after being switched to the right flank, suggesting either could handle a move to the right if needed.
He had the backing of his coach and likely Blues five-eighth James Maloney.
"I thought what the left edge [of Tupou and Jennings] did – they shared the tries, they did a good job," Roosters coach Trent Robinson said after the game.
"I think they took a step forward for selection – it's up to the guys who they select but they didn't do themselves any harm."
Maloney however was more effusive.
"Toops has been tremendous, it'd be great if he got the opportunity," Maloney said.
"Maybe having Jenko there and Toops having that combination with him – that might push his case but we'll wait and see."