Cowboys hooker Jake Granville has one last chance against Canberra on Saturday to push his claims for a State of Origin debut and his Maroons teammates Gavin Cooper and Michael Morgan insist he has a tailor-made game to represent Queensland with distinction.
Granville's chances of selection will hinge on whether Maroons selectors decide to go with a regular rake or insert St George Illawarra half Ben Hunt into the starting number nine jersey.
Hunt is favoured to get the nod but Granville was cleared of a dangerous contact charge on Eels half Mitchell Moses at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night and will now take on the Raiders with strong form under his belt. Granville had a slow start to the season but his form over the last month has put him in the frame for selection in game one of the Holden State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium on June 5.
Cowboys veteran Gavin Cooper, with six games for the Maroons to his credit, said the stars had aligned to give Granville his best chance at a Queensland debut on the back of injuries to Roosters hooker Jake Friend and Broncos rake Andrew McCullough.
"Jakey's game the last month has definitely grown. He knocked himself out a couple of weeks ago [against South Sydney] and that is the way he plays his footy," Cooper told NRL.com.
"He plays tough and that is what Origin is all about, so if he got his chance he wouldn't let anybody down. His defence is one of the strongest points of his game, and his running.
"There are some good hookers who never got to play Origin. You think of [former Cowboys] hooker Aaron Payne who didn't get to play Origin because Cameron Smith was so dominant and only missed one game all the way through his career. We've seen what has happened the past six weeks to the Queensland hooker hopefuls but if Jakey got a chance he would do the job."
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Granville's running game was a feature of his play in the Cowboys' 2015 premiership-winning season. He told NRL.com that was still his greatest asset but after examining the game of Maroons legend Cameron Smith had focused on adding more game management to his playbook to get himself Origin ready.
"I thought my game took a step in the right direction against the Warriors [in round eight] because I simplified my game a bit more and when I saw an opportunity I took it," Granville said.
"Smithy plays a lot differently to the way I do but he is always the benchmark with the way he controls a game of footy and against the Warriors I was a lot better with my decision-making. I've been working on that.
"I've been a part of a couple of emerging [Maroons] camps and I'd like to think that my running game is the best attribute I can bring to the team."
Cowboys captain Michael Morgan also identified the Warriors win as a turning point for Granville's season and said he would do the job for the Maroons if chosen.
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"He is very competitive and [against the Warriors] he got himself into position twice to stop them scoring and that was purely off effort and keeping himself in the game," Morgan said.
"He, like us all, has been under the pump with people questioning his form but if he can pick up his running game, which is when he is at his best, hopefully there is an opportunity for him.
"The more often we as a team put in a good performance the more opportunities there are for everybody across the board to put their hand up for Origin selection."
For Granville, that will largely depend on a strong performance against a Canberra side boasting one of the game's best hookers in Josh Hodgson.
"I'm just trying to concentrate on the simple things and the rest of it will look after itself. It just starts with my execution, passing and service and making my tackles in the middle," Granville said.
"It's always a tough trip down there [in Canberra] and they're going really well this season. They've got Hodgson in the middle and he's really crafty, very dangerous and he can control a game of footy really well. He's definitely one to keep an eye on."