“I wouldn’t pick me.”
An upfront and honest Daniel Saifiti concedes his spot in NSW’s Origin line-up is under pressure ahead of Thursday night’s clash against state teammate Payne Haas and the Broncos.
Newcastle broke a seven-game losing streak in Magic Round but Saifiti remains his own harshest critic ahead of possible Origin selection on May 29 after a sluggish start to his season.
The Knights prop has been unhappy with his own personal performances to coincide with the club’s 3-7 record.
With seven appearances for NSW under his belt, Saifiti believes he’s nowhere near the sort of form that would see him add to his Origin tally.
“I’ve got two weeks to prove my worth but honestly if it doesn’t happen I’ve done it to myself because at the current rate I wouldn’t pick me,” Saifiti told NRL.com.
“I love playing in that arena and don’t think I’ve ever let the jersey down but there’s too many good props playing better footy.
“You look at Payne, Reggie (Reagan Campbell-Gillard) and Junz (Junior Paulo), I’m happy for those boys because they’re going to good and leading from the front.
“It’s good for NSW too and you take motivation from that.”
Saifiti said he’s fallen by the wayside around the mental side of the game, something that Brad Fittler and the Blues are strong on going into an Origin series.
The 26-year-old has endured a disruptive pre-season that’s contributed to his form slump, where he's averaging 109 metres per game, but he makes no excuses for it.
“Whatever anyone says about my form at the moment I multiply that by 10,” he said.
“It’s been hard, I’ve probably never been in that much of a form slump since I've started playing in the NRL.
“I’m usually really confident in the way I play and know my job. When you play bad for my standards so many games in a row you lose confidence.
“You do everything right at training but then get out there and start doubting yourself.
“I started new [against the Bulldogs] and was definitely better but I know I can go up a few more levels yet.”
The Knights return home to McDonald Jones Stadium on Thursday night looking to make amends after three heavy defeats in front of their loyal faithful, including two losses to Melbourne and Parramatta where they failed to score a try.
“We owe the crowd a good performance,” Saifiti said. “They’re losing faith in us and they are entitled to because we’ve been playing horrible.
Knights v Broncos
“When you play at a high level and are a leader of a team you have to hold yourself at a high level.
“You feel accountable as the leader of the pack when you start losing.
“It was good to get a win and personally get a little bit back on the right track. We did get a little bit frustrated but we’ll take a lot from the defence. We just had to win, we didn’t care how we did.”