Cowboys coach Paul Green has advised young winger Kyle Feldt to not get swept up in recent reports that have him being considered for a State of Origin spot.
The Maroons have lost both Justin Hodges (retirement) and Billy Slater (shoulder injury) from the 2015 backline, along with 12-month Origin suspensions to upcoming outside backs Cameron Munster, Valentine Holmes and Edrick Lee – Queensland’s 18th man for Game III last year.
Considering Queensland Origin's history of player retention, it could end up costing those three long-term while benefitting Feldt and Broncos flyer Corey Oates, who are reported to be in the running for a wing spot in Game I.
After a new lease on his career since the grand final victory, Feldt has been one of the Cowboys' stars this season, but Green says there is still so much ahead of the 24-year-old.
"I think it's important that 'Feldty' keeps his feet on the ground, he can’t go reading headlines," Green said on Tuesday.
"If [the Origin opportunity] comes along then that's great for him, it shows he is improving – which he needs to – but if you start reading into that sort of stuff too much you forget about what’s important and what got you there.
"It's good that 'Feldty' is getting noticed but he needs to be consistent, and how you get consistency is to keep working hard. It has been some good recognition for some good form, but he needs to maintain his effort."
Green heaped praise on his right edge, which has drastically improved since Feldt won his spot back in Round 25 of last year.
Green's problems on that edge run back to 2014, where the Roosters annihilated the right side on the way to 30 points in as many minutes in the memorable 31-30 semi-final.
"[It was] probably our weakest side defensively last year but they are probably our strong side this year, so they are going well in that area and they are becoming more of a threat in attack as well," Green said.
"'Juzzie' [O'Neill] is benefitting from that, but the guys around him are also playing well and they are all benefitting from each other."
On the left side, Javid Bowen was again named this week, but the door has been left ajar for Kane Linnett's return.
Linnett went down with a shoulder injury in Round 4 against the Broncos and was originally expected to be out until Round 9 but as was the case last season with the majority of injured players, he looks likely make his return earlier than expected.
While this week may be unlikely, there is a solid chance the Scotland international will line up in the home clash against the Rabbitohs next Friday.
"I think it is too early to say [whether he plays this week]. We've got to wait and see how it progresses. We don't want to take any unnecessary risks with it," Green said.
"He hasn't trained this week so it’s probably too hard for me to say. We will give him every possible chance, but I think it is unlikely this week."