Cordner doesn't hold 'bad-boy' hangover fears
Boyd Cordner holds few fears his role in the night that cost Roosters teammate Mitch Pearce his NSW jumper will result in the back-rower suffering the same fate as the incumbent Kangaroo makes a shock return for the Tricolours against Manly this Friday.
As Cordner prepares for his first game since suffering an ankle injury in Round 10 that was initially expected to rule him out of the entire Origin series, the Rooster opened up for the first time on the fateful night in which Pearce was arrested for refusing to leave Kings Cross nightspot Beach Hause in the early hours of May 11.
Pearce was later suspended for one match and fined $20,000 by the club, while Cordner, who along with Pearce had earlier that night been asked to leave The Clovelly Hotel for allegedly becoming aggressive with security staff, received a $5,000 fine for his involvement, with $2,500 suspended.
Cordner was reluctant to go into detail about what occurred that evening, but according to reports in the wake of the incident, the police officer who dealt with the 22-year-old in the aftermath of Pearce's arrest made a point of contacting the Roosters to compliment the club on his behaviour under the difficult circumstances.
NSW coach Laurie Daley's hardline stance on off-field indiscretions ultimately saw Pearce lose his spot as the Blues' incumbent halfback, but Cordner is confident the incident will not have an effect on his bid to claim a spot in the NSW squad for Origin III.
"I suppose it's been documented that I was part of everything, but [it's] probably being in trouble for just being there," said Cordner.
"So I don't know if I've done anything wrong in that regard, but hopefully not."
Having made his Origin debut in last year's decider, Cordner is certain to come under consideration for the vacant back-row spot created by Anthony Watmough's suspension in Game Two, provided he comes through his return against the Sea Eagles unscathed.
Pearce, who alongside Roosters halves partner James Maloney has bounced back to shades of his best form since the pair were dumped from the NSW side, was understood to have been particularly upset at the way Cordner had been dragged into the situation, but Cordner said has no hard feelings towards his Tricolours teammate.
"It was a pretty hard time there for Pearcey and he's already touched on it that I was just there with him and my name got brought up, but that's it," said Cordner.
"I'm not disappointed, I was more worried for Pearcey because of he'd been going through. But that's all over now, that's long gone, so I'm not worried about that."
"It was pretty surprising how it all broke down and came out.
"But I've totally moved on and so has Pearcey and I think it's shown in the way he's playing football now and I'm just trying to get back to the level the boys have been keeping the last few weeks."
Cordner said he hopes to get "more than half a game" as he makes his comeback from the bench against Manly, and given the recent nature of the Roosters' clashes with the Sea Eagles, which have provided some of the most brutal club games in recent memory, should serve as a good indication of whether he is ready for the increased intensity that comes at Origin level.
While admitting there was no substitute for match fitness, Cordner is confident he will be able to handle the step up in the interstate arena should he get the opportunity.
"I just have this game and a week in training, it is a different level altogether, obviously having a little bit of experience last year helps.
"I reckon I will be alright. I have trained really hard the last few weeks to maintain my fitness levels and try and be up there.
"I haven't lost any fitness."