Mbye on Maroons' Origin radar
He will be wearing predominantly blue when he runs out onto Suncorp Stadium for the first time in an NRL game on Friday night but Bulldogs five-eighth Moses Mbye remains very much part of Queensland's future Origin plans.
The match-up between Mbye and Broncos opposite Anthony Milford promises to be one of the intriguing sub-plots of the blockbuster Broncos-Bulldogs clash with both teams hoping to bounce back after last-start defeats.
Mbye was absolutely superb in engineering Canterbury's comeback against the Roosters last week and has been a regular in Queensland under-20s programs in recent years, twice representing the Maroons' under-20s having participated in the Junior Emerging Origin camp in 2013.
That was where Broncos coach Wayne Bennett first laid eyes on the Sunshine Coast product and intimated on the eve of the game that he would likely receive a call-up to the senior Emerging Origin camp in 2016.
"Yeah I'd say he'd be pretty close to that," Bennett said of an Emerging Origin invitation over the summer.
"I saw him in an under-20s camp two years ago and I was pretty impressed with him then and I still remain impressed with him. I just liked his mannerisms and the way he went about his training.
"The good thing is he's a Queenslander as well which will serve us well later on down the track.
"He's matured with his football and he's at that age group where they start to come into their own a little bit.
"It won't be next year or the year after [that he plays Origin] but by 24 or 25 he should be knocking on the door."
Given the size of the Bulldogs pack and the front-rowers not currently available to Bennett in the Broncos squad Mbye could be afforded plenty of opportunity if his big men can establish some superiority on Friday night.
When they got back into the contest against the Roosters last week it was Mbye who delivered two pin-point passes for tries, taking his try assist tally for the season to nine from 16 games.
But any half is only as good as the platform his forwards provide and despite the loss of Greg Eastwood through suspension the Bulldogs arrive in Brisbane well-equipped.
Frank Pritchard and Aiden Tolman both return to the team and with Origin forwards in Josh Jackson and David Klemmer and inspirational captain James Graham, the Bulldogs have a pack capable of steam-rolling any team.
Bennett currently has four front-rowers not available for selection – Josh McGuire, Adam Blair, James Gavet and Francis Molo – and says they are facing a team eager to rectify their position on the ladder.
"We've got four major hit-up forwards missing and that's one of their strengths. I'm confident enough that we can do that but we'll have to play well and be on our game," Bennett said.
"They're a quality football team and they wouldn't be happy with where they are. They're a better team than that I think, I'm sure they are, they'll be keen tomorrow night and we'll have our hands full."