Corey Oates might be on the brink of a debut Queensland Origin jumper but the Brisbane flyer says he’s “filthy” with his recent NRL form.
The hulking 21-year-old admitted he has lost confidence since injuring his shoulder last month, but is hopeful of being back at his best in Saturday night’s home clash with Newcastle.
But all that might come as news to those who have viewed Oates as one of the standout Broncos players across the competition’s first two months – even accounting for the shoulder injury he suffered against the Warriors in round two, from which he managed to return a month ahead of schedule.
“My first two games, it was a good start but ever since the shoulder I’ve lost a bit of confidence,” Oates said.
“The energy just isn’t there.
“The last few games it’s always been in the back of my mind and I haven’t put in as much as I could. I’m pretty filthy on myself.
“I’m hoping this weekend, I can turn that around.
“The shoulder’s feeling a lot better than what it was last week and each week I’m getting better. Hopefully I can put on another good performance and help the boys out as much as I can.”
Seemingly his own worst critic, Oates said he is trying to ignore talk linking him with a possible Maroons nod this year so he can stay focused on his job at the Broncos.
But that talk only gets louder every week, particularly following injuries to Billy Slater (shoulder) and now Will Chambers (foot) that have decimated Queensland’s outside backs.
“The boys try really hard to make sure it doesn’t disappear,” Oates said.
“I’m just trying to get my confidence back and play that good footy. Whatever comes off the back of that I’ll be pretty proud of.”
It’s easy to forget Oates is not a natural winger, but a second-rower who was shoehorned into that position last year.
Much to his surprise, it’s worked out pretty well.
“I didn’t think I’d be a full-time winger, I’ll be honest with you,” Oates said.
“But the more I’ve been practising those things I wasn’t really good at when I got thrown in there… you just get comfortable.
“It’s not really that hard to change positions but you’ve got to dig in and get the little things right.”