Oates admits being overlooked for Origin affected club form
Corey Oates says his omission from game one of this year's State of Origin series impacted his club form the following week but he takes pride in how he bounced back to earn a recall for the Queensland Maroons.
The 23-year-old will play on the left wing for the Maroons in Wednesday night's final game of the 2018 Holden State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium after last wearing the Maroons jersey in game one of last year's series.
Oates said he thought he was no chance of getting a recall this year considering the form of Valentine Holmes and Dane Gagai. Greg Inglis' broken thumb opened up an opportunity and a backline reshuffle, with the Broncos star to play at left wing as Gagai was shifted into the centres.
Oates was right in the frame for a recall before game one, but missed out. It was a blow he took hard.
"I let it get to me the first game but it was a lesson I had to learn pretty quick," Oates said.
"I am a pretty happy person but it showed in my moods that week, and it showed in the [next] game against Melbourne where I don't think I played that great.
"It just shows that when you have an off week there is always a reason behind it, and the only thing that changed in my life was not getting picked.
"That is not the way to go about it so you just try to keep improving and do your best for your club, and hopefully you can do that little bit more that might get you selected in the end. I obviously did something, and I am pretty happy with that."
Kevin Walters said earlier this week that Oates had earned his spot on the back of a series of superb displays for the Broncos where he has made his athletic finishes in the left corner a trademark.
"That is something that I am really proud of myself for," Oates said when asked how he had responded to being left out initially.
"I did learn from dropping my head down against Melbourne and I really feel like I have picked my game up and started doing more with the ball and off the ball.
"I've tried to put myself out there a bit more."
Oates said he was not bitter about being dropped after the game one loss to NSW last year but conceded "it hurt".
- DCE to assert himself as dominant Maroons half
- Blues 'out-Origined' us but Maroons don't deserve 3-0 loss: Slater
"It hurt … but they won the series and played great football without me in the team," he said.
"I feel like I have changed a lot since then and matured a lot as a player."
Oates was asked if a good performance on Wednesday night would assist him in his contract negotiations with Brisbane, which are stalled until mid-August due to an issue with his management.
"It would if I could negotiate," he grinned.
"I can't do much at the moment as you know with all my management stuff. I'm trying to put all that behind me because it can be a distraction. Not knowing where you are next year is a bit hard and not knowing where you are with the club you want to stay at, or any other club.
"I struggled with it a bit early but now I am starting to deal with it because I don't have long until I can negotiate."
Oates continued his eight-month pitch to become a back-rower for the Broncos while asserting he would give his all for Queensland on the left wing.
"I was just thrown on the wing when I came into first grade," he said.
"I was always a back-rower coming through. I loved it and still do. I tried in the off-season to get moved back in but apparently, my [outstanding] trial games on the wing didn't help me."
"I'm a lot different to a lot of wingers that have played for Queensland. I am not the electric, agile, steppy winger.
"I'm a back-rower playing on the wing. I try and get those strong carries and get the boys moving forward early and I will stick to it."
Oates said he would eventually convince Wayne Bennett to give him a crack in the forwards.
"I'll get him," he grinned. "He likes me now. It took me three years."
Origin at Suncorp, there's nothing like it! Game III tickets available here