Brennan's challenge to 'built for Origin' James
Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan insists prop Ryan James is tailor-made for the NSW Blues selection and has challenged his captain to back up his stellar display from Sunday night with more regular dominant performances.
Blues coach Brad Fittler has plenty of options in his middle forward rotation despite losing Test prop Jordan McLean for the Holden State of Origin series with a foot injury.
The 26-year-old James, who is yet to wear a Blues jersey, was touted as a NSW Origin bolter in 2013 and last year then coach Laurie Daley said he was unlucky to miss out on selection in Game One.
James played 74 minutes in the Titans' 26-14 win over the Broncos where he ran for 131m and made 39 tackles where his leadership was a key to the Gold Coast performance.
"I am not here to pick NSW sides but I think Freddy [Fittler] should look at tonight’s performance and see what a good job Ryan did," Brennan told NRL.com after the Broncos win.
"He does a good job in the middle and he can play on the edge as well as anyone else can.
"Every year his name gets thrown up for Origin because he's built for it. He's a big body, moves quick across the ground and he carries the ball strong. Defensively he is really good and he plays big minutes which you want in that Origin arena."
There was a caveat to Brennan's praise, and that was his desire for James to back up his display against the Broncos with more of the same.
Brennan had an honest conversation with James after the 54-8 thumping by St George Illawarra in round three.
"Most of the forwards I wasn't happy with, but Ryan in particular because he is our captain and our leader, and if our leader is not stepping up then we are going to be under the pump," Brennan said.
"We had a good talk, me and Dark [James], and I challenged him. I said 'I need you to step up' and he did that without a doubt.
"He needs to keep backing up those great performances week after week because that is what Origin players do.
"One hot day doesn’t make a summer, and the same thing goes for Ryan James."
The injury-hit Sea Eagles await in Gladstone on Sunday afternoon and Brennan wants his side to string together consecutive strong performances, which is yet to happen this year.
"This team has got to get some consistency in them," Brennan said.
"We had a good win against Canberra and then two losses and have backed it up with a really good win over Brisbane but it is important we back it up next week and turn up with the same resolve.
"Last week [against the Dragons] was a speed bump and we are going to come across them in a season as we go along but it is about how we respond and learn from those weekends."