Opposing centres on Friday night, Origin teammates 48 hours later.
If Newcastle’s Jesse Ramien is writing the script, that is how he hopes his weekend pans out.
Ramien will face a final NSW selection trial against good friend Latrell Mitchell when the Knights host the Sydney Roosters at a packed McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.
“Obviously he’s a handful out in the centres but I’ve just got to go out and play my natural game and do what I do best,” Ramien told reporters after training in Newcastle on Wednesday.
“I’m out there to do a job and I’ll go out there and try to do that this Friday night.”
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Ramien and Mitchell played junior representative league together for NSW under-16s and under-18s during their junior careers, and were Indigenous All Stars teammates against Maori All Stars in Melbourne in February.
They have squared off against each other in Koori Knockouts before, but their only previous NRL meeting was in round three last year at Shark Park, when the Roosters defeated Cronulla 28-10.
As much as he is studying Newcastle coach Nathan Brown’s scouting report, and preparing for Mitchell’s famous fend and footwork, Ramien hopes his mate is doing some homework of his own.
“Hopefully. It would be pretty good if he is,” Ramien said.
“I’m in the NRL for a reason, and if I wasn’t able to defend I wouldn’t be up there and ‘Browny’ and [the coaching staff] wouldn’t play me if they didn’t think I could handle it, so I’m just going to go out there and do what I do best.”
Looking on from the sidelines will be Blues coach Brad Fittler, in his commentary role with Channel Nine. Mitchell is a lock at left centre but Fittler and his staff are considering Ramien among a short list of contenders at right centre in the team to be announced on Sunday night.
“There’s been a bit of talk around it, and obviously with how much it’s blown up, I guess it has been on my mind a bit,” Ramien said.
“So if the opportunity arose for me to play, it would be great, but I’m just focusing on my club.
“We’re doing pretty well and we’ve had a few wins back to back, so I’m just trying to focus on that now, but if the opportunity does come, I’ll grab it with both hands.”
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In his first season in Newcastle after a break-out year with the Sharks in 2018, Ramien received limited opportunities when the Knights lost five on the trot to the Panthers, Raiders, Dragons, Sea Eagles and Titans, but has looked more like his former self during their four-game winning streak.
“Obviously I haven’t had the year like I had last year, and I’ve had a pretty rough start to the season, but I’m probably getting better as the year goes on and as I build better combinations with the playing group, so I’d like to think I am [ready],” he said.
Former NSW centre Josh Morris, who effectively replaced Ramien at the Sharks, and Canberra’s Nick Cotric are the front-runners to replace Brisbane’s James Roberts, if Fittler decides not to retain the out-of-sorts incumbent, but Ramien has a fan in another Blues veteran.
Speaking to the Newcastle Herald on Wednesday, former Knights, NSW and Australian star Matt Gidley said Queensland would be “nervous” if the Blues select Ramien.
“He is such a talented player and I really think he is one of our club’s best signings,” the Knights Hall of Famer and former club CEO said.
“I definitely think he is an Origin player; he’s made for it.”