Canterbury five-eighth Josh Reynolds admits he imploded under the pressure of trying to retain his NSW State of Origin jumper last season.
Reynolds was dropped by Blues coach Laurie Daley for their 2015 title defence after a series of brain explosions, which saw him suspended six times in 12 months, and his NRL form dropped away.
But he’s back in the frame for a recall to Origin after starring for the top-of-the-table Bulldogs in the opening four rounds this season.
He gets a golden chance to stake his claim for the Blues’ No.6 jersey when he clashes with potential NSW rival Blake Austin against Canberra at Belmore Sports Ground in round five.
“I don’t want to be going out there Monday night thinking `I want to get my Origin jersey back’. I want to go out there thinking `I don’t want to let these boys down in here’,” Reynolds said on Thursday.
A suspension for tripping during the NSW City v Country match last year was the final straw before Reynolds was dumped by Daley, missing the entire Origin series.
“For me, I exploded myself, I thought about it way too much and in the end it got me the wrong result,” Reynolds said.
“It was all on me, my head wasn’t in the right space and I’m happy to admit that.”
Questions over incumbent NSW halves Mitchell Pearce and Trent Hodkinson remain and a strong showing against the Raiders wouldn’t hurt Reynolds’ chances of returning to the Origin arena.
With Pearce out due to suspension, Hodkinson out of form at new club Newcastle and leading contender South Sydney’s Adam Reynolds nursing a broken jaw, Daley has some decisions to make at the selection table.
“When it constantly gets brought up, you do think about it and this year I’m getting asked about it but I’ve got a different approach,” he said.
“I got asked about it today but I’ll go in there and forget about it straight away.
“That’s the way I have to approach it otherwise I’m my own worst enemy.”