Life is good for Lachlan Coote.
Still buzzing from a reported $1 million contract extension, the North Queensland fullback has emerged as a NSW State of Origin bolter after rich praise from coach Laurie Daley.
How times have changed.
Coote revealed he was resigned to leaving the reigning NRL premiers when told in February to look for another club.
He decided to enjoy his remaining time with his beloved Cowboys, producing career best form.
Lucrative rival offers arrived – then North Queensland re-opened negotiations.
Coote agonised over whether to forfeit a small fortune and stay with his mates for another title tilt or follow the dollars to Sydney with his young family.
In the end, Coote reportedly knocked back a $2.8 million deal over four years with Sydney Roosters, re-signing with North Queensland for another two seasons instead.
“I was thinking about it nearly every day, even when I was at training,” Coote said.
“I was very close (to a Roosters deal).
“It was pretty tough knowing they were offering a four-year deal and it was just two years here.
“But I would have regretted more leaving here than turning those offers away.”
Coote may yet snap up a Blues bench utility spot after receiving praise from Daley for his rejuvenation.
“He’s been fantastic Lachlan Coote, good enough to play State of Origin this year,” Daley told Fox Sports TV.
Coote was excited by the prospect of being an Origin utility but may need some time to get his head around defending in the front line.
“I have only just heard that (Daley’s comment), it is exciting,” he said.
“If my name is in the team I would be stoked but if it isn’t I will just keep doing what I am doing.
“I wouldn’t want to defend in the middle but if I am used off the bench then so be it.
“I would be stoked to play.”
Queensland and Kangaroos utility Michael Morgan said Cowboys teammate Coote was Origin worthy after silencing his critics by overcoming a nightmare start at North Queensland.
Signed as the man to replace club legend Matt Bowen at fullback, Coote lasted seven minutes before breaking down with a season-ending knee injury at the 2014 Auckland Nines.
“Look what he did up here,” Morgan said.
“A lot of people questioned when he first signed here and he has proven a lot of people wrong.
“If given the opportunity he will do some damage (in Origin).”