Roosters back-rower Boyd Cordner says once he felt he was ready to come back from a recent foot injury he called NSW coach Laurie Daley to deliver the good news that he was available to play State of Origin III – but Daley decided to go in a different direction.
Cordner instead lined up for his club side in the Telstra Premiership on Friday night – five full days before the 13 July interstate contest – and showed what he's capable of, scoring an opportunistic try, making one clean line break, terrorising the Eels' right edge defenders with his potent edge running.
He finished with an impressive 135 metres and five tackle breaks in 55 minutes after being introduced from the bench.
Speaking to NRL.com after the heartbreaking loss, Cordner said he had called Daley in hopes of getting a call up for Game Three.
"I gave him a call and said I was sweet to go if he needed me but obviously the boys that are there that have had some good match fitness under their belt and they totally deserve it so I understand where he's going with that," Cordner said.
"I would have loved to have played but obviously having no games under my belt it's totally understandable and the boys that have been picked have been in some really good form so they totally deserve it."
It would have been a big call to pick Cordner after not having played a game since injuring his toe in Game I of the series. Cordner was the Blues' best in that game and awarded players' player after suffering the injury in the first half while scoring his team's only try of the match.
However the decision to call up Wade Graham as Cordner's replacement for Game Two only for Graham to himself be ruled out via suspension, followed by the incredible Origin debut of the next man in line, Tyson Frizell, meant both those players were selected for next Wednesday's dead rubber. Veteran Greg Bird was also overlooked for the contest.
Cordner has also elaborated on the painful toe injury he suffered which at one stage looked like it would rule him out for a long period with surgery required to repair a break and torn ligaments.
"It was definitely blown out of proportion," Cordner said of reports that initially had him missing the rest of the season.
"It was touch and go if I needed surgery. If I did have to get surgery I would have been out for a while but I didn't end up having it and I've been pushing it along and it's been progressing nicely. Even though it is still a bit sore it's good enough to go."
The injury included both torn ligaments in the foot and a fracture of the sesamoid bone (a tiny bone in the big toe located at the ball of the foot that is subject to significant pressures when pushing off from the ball of the foot).
"It was a bit of both [ligament damage and a fracture]," Cordner said.
"When I first did it I tore a couple of ligaments and there's a bone in there [the sesamoid bone] that acts like your kneecap that broke and it's healing pretty nicely."
He said once it was deemed the injury could heal without surgery and he got back to physio it progressed well until around a week and a half before the Eels game he felt like a comeback was imminent.
While disappointed to be missing the last Origin game this year, Cordner said he'll be hoping the team gets a win in his absence despite how tough it will be watching.
"It was tough watching up in Brisbane and tough watching down in Sydney," he added.
Now, he just wants to help his club – who now appear to be even mathematically out of the finals race – claw back some pride over the closing stages of the season.
"We've got a lot of pride that we need to play for and especially wearing that Roosters jersey it's a proud club and we're definitely not happy with where we're sitting at the moment so we're definitely looking forward to turning it around and finishing the year off well," Cordner said.