Oates purpose-built for Origin: Boyd
Only his still developing body can hold Corey Oates back from State of Origin selection for Queensland with Broncos teammate Darius Boyd describing him as almost the perfect prototype for rugby league's most demanding arena.
Following a man of the match performance in Round 1 Oates was again superb for the Broncos in their 25-10 win over the Warriors on Friday night, his 70-minute display of excellence spoiled by a shoulder injury that threatens to sideline him for a month.
The raw numbers show that Oates ran for 140 metres, scored a try and made two tackle busts but what they don't reveal are the two efforts he made to get out of the Broncos' in-goal area as the Warriors tried to exert pressure in the first half.
It is the work the 21-year-old does at the defensive end of the field – rather than his try-scoring rate of 29 from 57 games in the NRL – that Boyd believe puts him on the cusp of Origin selection.
"Origin is so strong and tough I think his play one and two carries would be really good in that arena," said Boyd, a veteran of 23 matches for Queensland.
"His decision making in defence is only getting better and better. He'd definitely be close I'm sure but it's up to Kevvie (Maroons coach Kevin Walters) and [the selectors] I guess.
"The sky's the limit over the next 12 [months] to be honest. He's only getting better and better.
"He came off the utility bench last year and kept scoring tries and doing good things so Wayne [Bennett, Broncos coach] ended up giving him a start and he's kicked it off again this year.
"As long as he can stay on the park, anything's possible for him."
Jokingly referred to as the "white Wendell" around Brisbane's training base at Red Hill, Oates drew comparisons with another famous monster winger after his powerful display against the Warriors.
"He's our Manu [Vatuvei] really isn't he?" asked captain Corey Parker.
"He's been fantastic and between him and 'Darbs' (Boyd) and 'JK' (Jordan Kahu) at the back there they really got us out of some sticky situations, particularly getting caught in goal and big 'Oatesy' got himself out of there.
"It's only a player like him with his size and strength that could do that."
Destined for the back row in the future, Oates has made his name since making his debut at 18 years of age in 2013 on the Broncos' left wing, the position that has been Boyd's at Origin level for the past seven years.
Newcastle centre Dane Gagai scored a try playing on the right wing in making his Origin debut in Game Three last year but Boyd is doing everything he can to fast-track Oates's education in the finer points of wing play.
Boyd's memory of playing against him during his time at Newcastle was simply "a big thing on the wing" but said he is working hard at training to develop his game further.
"He's a class player and he's only going to get better," said Boyd.
"Wing is still pretty foreign to him, we're talking him through it a little bit as he goes but he's done a great job and been one of our best players the first two games and the back-end of last year as well.
"If he makes any little mistakes at training we always talk him through it but to his credit he really asks questions and asks us what we think and what he should have done and to talk to him if he gets a bit lazy.
"He's willing to work and that's half the battle."