Blues candidate De Belin happy to play through pain
Dragons lock Jack De Belin is dirty on himself for not getting through last week's loss to South Sydney due to a painful hip pointer injury but didn't look at all troubled by the injury during his starring role against the Raiders in Mudgee on Sunday.
De Belin admitted after the game he "probably shouldn't have played" against Souths, lasting just 10 minutes of his second-half stint before being forced from the field.
The injury was incurred late in his team's win over Melbourne in round nine when hard-hitting rookie Brandon Smith aimed a shoulder into De Belin's ribs and clipped his hip.
But with De Belin on the verge of a long-awaited Origin chance and his team desperate for a hit-back after the Souths loss, a pain-killing needle was all he needed to inspire his Dragons to a 25-18 win in which he scored a try and produced three offloads, 148 running metres and 38 tackles in a power-packed 56 minutes.
"Looking back on it I probably shouldn't have played last week," De Belin said.
"I didn't train all week and then got it needled hoping it would come good but I was in a lot of pain. Looking back I probably shouldn't have played. Obviously, a week is a long time and it's feeling much better. I got it needled again and it felt a lot better.
"Even still, I should be better than that and be able to play injured but it wasn't very good."
De Belin recalled the shot that did the damage a fortnight ago.
"It was right at the end of the Melbourne game, the little hooker [Brandon Smith] gave me a real good shot on it and it honestly felt like I broke my ribs. It was a bit down lower but, on my hip pointer.
"Smith, he's a little tank machine. He didn't miss. It honestly felt like I broke my ribs."
De Belin is on record plenty of times saying he feels like his game would be suited to Origin. He was on the extended bench for all three games last year and was 18th man in the series decider, at a time when an injury cloud over skipper Boyd Cordner almost handed him a debut.
However, with a debut this year looking all but inevitable, De Belin wasn't willing to jinx himself.
"I'm not even worrying about Origin, I'm just worrying about club footy and put good performances together for the Dragons.
''That's all we can do at the moment, keep playing well in club footy. We didn't play the best [against Canberra] but we got the win. It's going to go a long way hopefully."
Pressed on what an Origin chance would mean to him, De Belin admits he'd relish the chance.
''I've been on the cusp for a while now. Mate, I'd love to be playing Origin.
''I'd be doing everything to put my hand up but at the moment, all I've got to do is worry about club footy and put my hand up and put my best performance for the Red V," he added.