Proud Cordner ready for new Blues era
An emotional Boyd Cordner has choked up while describing just how honoured he is to be chosen to lead his state this year.
The powerful Roosters back-rower was the logical choice following the representative retirement of long-serving Origin talisman Paul Gallen.
The 24-year-old trails only Brad Fittler and current Origin coach Laurie Daley in terms of the youngest Blues Origin skippers but is a natural leader who has long seemed old beyond his years.
Addressing media at The Star following the team announcement on Monday night, Cordner said the honour "means the world" to him.
And his first call once he spoke to Daley was to his father Chris.
"I was on my way home from the [Bulldogs] game [Sunday] night, driving a few of the boys and Laurie's name came up on the screen," Cordner said.
"I gave him a call back and he let me know he wanted me to be captain. I can't really describe how I felt at the time. It's an unbelievable honour. For me it's one of the highest honours you can get, captaining your state."
Cordner also confessed to a little relief at finally getting the confirmation after his name became linked more strongly to the role amid a host of other worthy candidates such as Aaron Woods, Wade Graham and Josh Jackson.
"Just to find out from Laurie was an unbelievable feeling. A lot of joy, maybe a few tears. It's something I'm very proud of," he said.
"I called my dad straight away..." Cordner's voice trailed off in a wave of emotion before he added "I need to get myself together a bit! He's been my number one supporter all my life. He's just super proud."
Daley said he had no doubts over Cordner's leadership credentials.
"I spoke to Boyd [Sunday] night and asked him whether he'd want the job," Daley said.
"Not all guys are suited to it. Not all guys want the responsibility but he was quite excited and happy that I chose him.
"I think he's a great fit for us because he's the next generation of player coming through."
Any doubts over Cordner's passion and dedication for the sky blue jersey – if they existed – could be erased by watching a replay of Game One last year. Cordner broke a sesamoid bone in his toe scoring a crucial first half-try – his team's only points of the game. The injury put him out for six weeks, including the remainder of the Origin series, but he still finished the match, which ended in a tight 6-4 loss to the Maroons.
Cordner said he will look to take some lessons from other leaders he has played under, including the Blues' most recent skipper who played through plenty of adversity himself through a rugged Origin career.
"Past leaders that I've had, especially Gal is someone that I looked up to coming through," Cordner said.
"The way he went about his business, he's tough, he's resilient, he led by his actions. he's been an inspiration for this team for a while now and that's something I looked up to so hopefully I can take some parts out of that and continue to grow myself and find my way."
This will be a younger NSW team than last year with debutant Nathan Peats taking over from veteran Robbie Farah at hooker and 23-year-old Manly tyro Jake Trbojevic's bench debut essentially taking Gallen's place in the 17 via a reshuffle from Game 3 last year.
"It's a great team," Cordner said.
"Everyone that's been selected has been in some great form this year.
"Our debutants, Jake Trbojevic and Nathan Peats, they've been knocking on the door for a while now and deserve their chance."