Titans standout James chasing Country berth
Fresh of a dominant performance against one of the NRL's most respected forward packs, Ryan James is pushing for inclusion in the Country side for next Sunday's clash against City.
The Titans' second-rower was impressive on both sides of the ball during the 32-28 win over the Warriors on Anzac Day, carrying the ball 16 times for 148 metres and making 34 tackles.
On top of that the Bilambil Jets junior had a line break, a try assist and a try of his own in the 66th minute, as his side ran over the top of an opposing Warriors pack containing seven players with Test or Origin experience.
"I think he will probably be considered, he has been in good form," Gold Coast coach Neil Henry told NRL.com.
"He has been playing some outstanding footy the last few weeks. He has really adapted well to the left back-row, playing 80 minutes with a good work rate.
"I have been really pleased with the way he has handled that move to the back-row. We still need him to have that punch on the edge, but he is certainly got a good motor and is aerobically really good.
"He is a good trainer so has been able to build up that ability to play 80 minutes, which has been fantastic for the team."
Twenty-three-year-old James – who made the cut in NRL.com's Country team named this week – said he would love to add to his collection of rep appearances, which includes games for the Indigenous All Stars and a lone cap for Country in 2013.
"Hopefully I put my best foot forward [for country selection]," James said post match.
"The Titans are four from five so that's good for some of our players as well.
"Hopefully my form just gets better and better and I can push my way towards rep jerseys."
With forwards Greg Bird and Dave Taylor missing the start of the 2015 season James had no choice but to play bigger minutes through the opening rounds, and continued that trend with another 80-minute showing at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Through the opening eight weeks he has played all but 16 minutes of the Titans' games, thanks largely to an incident-free pre-season.
"I had a big pre-season and got through without any injury, working on the fitness and playing for 80 minutes is something I want to do," he said.
"I have never even played a full year of footy. That was my main goal at the start of the year, to play a full year of NRL footy without going back to state league and playing for the feeder club.
"Just the fitness, getting 80 minutes out is pretty hard, I am going from being a 40-minute front-rower to an 80-minute back-rower which is a bit hard.
"I just have to work harder in defence, I am starting to feel the sway of the game and getting used to it.
"I was a bit buggered with about 20 minutes to go against the Warriors, but happened to push through it."
Country coach Trent Barrett names his side to face City at Wagga Wagga's McDonalds Park on May 3 tomorrow afternoon.