The match that helped convince Lachlan Coote to stay at North Queensland may yet help him clinch a NSW State of Origin debut.
Coote said the thought of missing out on future NRL derbies against Brisbane weighed heavily on his mind before he decided to re-sign for another two seasons recently.
Now Coote is set to be rewarded for his loyalty in the latest instalment of what he believes is the NRL’s greatest rivalry.
He knows another standout display in Friday night’s NRL grand final re-match with Brisbane in Townsville will all but guarantee a Blues No. jersey.
Coote is expected to vie for the NSW fullback spot against Penrith’s Matt Moylan with St George Illawarra’s Josh Dugan likely to be chosen at right centre by NSW coach Laurie Daley next week.
“This last game is when he (Daley) will make a decision so it is up to myself to play some good footy,” he said.
“It (NSW selection) is always in the back of my mind, especially this year when I am in contention and not too far away (team announcement).”
Daley will judge Coote against the perfect yardstick, the man Queensland are expected to pick as No.1 – Brisbane fullback Darius Boyd.
Asked about a possible Coote-Boyd Origin fullback rivalry, Coote said: “That would be outstanding if that is how it works out.
“Boyd has been playing outstanding footy.
“There is no doubt he will be the Origin fullback for Queensland.”
Coote was glad the NRL derby doubled as his Origin trial after it helped him sign the dotted line during Cowboys negotiations.
In the end Coote sacrificed $1.8 million to knock back a Sydney Roosters deal and stay at North Queensland in a bid to build a dynasty.
“I love being a part of it (derby),” he said.
“I didn’t really realise how big it was until I got here (from Penrith).
“When I was renegotiating contracts that was one thing I thought of, not being a part of a game like this again.”
Coote said he had not heard from Daley yet but would no doubt be boosted by a ringing endorsement from Brisbane captain and Queensland backrower Corey Parker.
“One of the blokes I don’t think gets enough raps is Lachlan Coote,” Parker said on Tuesday.
“He is the glue that holds them (Cowboys) together.”