Oates hungry for Origin stage
Brisbane winger Corey Oates says he is hungry to play State of Origin after watching nine of his Broncos teammates represent their country on the weekend.
Oates missed Australian selection for last Friday's trans-Tasman clash, with Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga preferring Parramatta Eel Semi Radradra and Sydney Rooster Blake Ferguson on each wing.
But it may not be long until Oates gets his chance in the representative arena, with the 21-year-old tipped to make his debut for Queensland come Game One of Origin on June 1 in Sydney.
The retirement of Broncos legend Justin Hodges and injuries to Queensland backline regulars Billy Slater and Will Chambers has opened the door for Oates to be selected.
The hulking winger said although he was happy to see his teammates be rewarded with representative selection last weekend, he would love to be part of representative football himself in the near future.
"The blokes that made it bring so much to the game each week," Oates said.
"Matt Gillett especially deserved his selection because he's been unreal for us this year.
"Corey Parker is so consistent and all the other boys just put in so much each week and never let us down.
"To play up at that level is such a great honour for them and to see them doing that makes me want to get there myself.
"I try not to think about selection for Origin too much. I'm still trying to work on my game and get my confidence back.
"I need to be happy with my performances at the Broncos before I can start thinking about making representative sides."
It seems Oates is a tough man to please, with the Baralaba Panthers junior having a standout year that has him ranked equal second on the NRL try-scoring tally after nine rounds.
Originally a second-row forward, Oates has had to adapt to life on the wing and he said he was finally starting to feel confident in that position.
"I'm starting to be confident on the wing. It's my position now," he said.
"I've been outside Jack Reed now for a couple of years and we have a pretty good bond there.
"I'm pretty happy playing outside him and hopefully we can continue to build this combination for a few more years."
Oates has endured an injury-plagued start to his NRL career, with knee and shoulder problems hampering him throughout his 61 games of first grade.
In what could be a concern for Queensland coach Kevin Walters, it appears as if Oates may never be able to shake off the joint problems that have already seen him miss two games this year.
The winger admitted his body may never be back to full fitness but insists that any complaints are only minor.
"I don't think I'll ever be 100 per cent," he said.
"I'm feeling pretty good at the moment and I just need to keep pushing through a few niggles.
"It's nothing major so that's probably the most positive thing to take out of it."