Jackson flying under Origin radar
Canterbury Bulldogs back-rower Josh Jackson is either a certainty in Laurie Daley's line-up for State of Origin I or needs an almighty performance against the Sydney Roosters on Sunday to state a final case.
It is hard to believe the 26-year-old has received limited attention for selection heading into the Suncorp Stadium encounter after being judged New South Wales' best in a losing series last season and being awarded the Brad Fittler medal.
With rugby league fanatics and experts predicting the Blues squad in recent weeks, some have Jackson missing the final 17 altogether with Boyd Cordner, Wade Graham and Dragons back-rower Tyson Frizell all rated ahead of the Gulgong junior.
Jackson played all but five minutes in last year's series and similar to his underrated career in the NRL Telstra Premiership to date, he played it cool and wasn't fazed when asked if he was nervous or had been spoken to by Daley heading into the Blues' team announcement on Monday.
"I've got no idea to be honest if I'll be there yet but I would definitely love to be a part of Origin again with the people involved and what it's all about," Jackson told NRL.com.
"You never get the heads up about selections or anything like that.
"If Laurie or the selectors go with a different player then I respect that because they're doing what they think is best for New South Wales.
"After last year's result though I know the boys in the squad are hungry to turn it around and I want to be a part of that."
Jackson admitted to having a mixed game against the Cowboys in Round 10 with the hard-hitting forward penalised twice for taking out Cowboys halfback Ray Thompson on the attack close to the line.
The Bulldogs lost their fifth-straight game to Paul Green's side after a poor opening half.
"I try to stay consistent but on the weekend I conceded a couple of stupid penalties and made an error so that's something I really need to get out of my game," he said.
"Des [Hasler] didn't have much say too much after the game, we sort of all knew that we gave the Cowboys too much opportunity.
"It was one that got away from us… four of their tries came off kicks but if you give a side too much ball on the line then they'll come up with those type of points."
Canterbury faces a high-flying Roosters outfit that thrashed Parramatta 48-10 last start and were too good for Hasler's men back in Round 2.
Jackson will line up against Blues teammate Cordner and believes stopping the 24-year-old will go a long way to winning the game.
"This game is huge not so much for the Origin factor but just for the Bulldogs," Jackson said.
"Coming off the back of a loss we really need to win this one, it's a massive game for us.
"Boyd is extremely important to the Roosters being successful and going as well as they are this year. He's playing real good footy so we'll have to limit his impact on the game."
Off the paddock and Jackson has completed a university degree in exercise and sports science and despite still having years left in the game, he wants to set himself up for life beyond his career in the Telstra Premiership.
"I've been looking into doing a masters in high performance sport if I've got the time to do that," he said.
"I'd love to have something like that done for when I finish footy and stay involved in the training side of the game or sport in general."