A NSW Origin call may loom for Ryan James after the Gold Coast forward came off the bench to inspire the Titans’ upset 30-18 NRL win over Wests Tigers on Saturday night.
Titans coach Neil Henry hailed James as the catalyst to their fifth straight home win, sparking a remarkable turnaround after the visitors jumped to a 10-0 lead in just 15 minutes.
And Henry believed NSW coach Laurie Daley would have also approved.
James was called up to train as part of an extended NSW squad in an Origin camp last May.
Henry believed the towering forward may have another taste this year.
“Every year his name get tossed up,” he said.
“If he keeps improving and his form is good, Laurie will certainly look at him.
“I know Laurie does rate him.”
James amassed 156m off the bench and scored in the 53rd minute as the Titans defied humid conditions to pile on the points after trailing 10-6 at halftime.
At one stage the Gold Coast ran in four tries in 17 minutes as the hosts turned a 10-0 deficit into a 30-10 lead.
“Ryan James was really good off the bench, he really lifted the tempo,” Henry said.
“Vaha (Pulu) had a lot of energy too.
“We were tanking a bit defensively but when those two came on we had spark in our defence.
“Our bench did a really good job in changing momentum for us.”
At first, nothing seemed to be able to stop the Wests Tigers juggernaut.
They had scored 150 points in their last four games, averaging at least 30 a match.
And they looked on track again after centre Kevin Naiqama bagged a double in the opening 15 minutes.
But Naiqama had to wait until the 77th minute for his third as the Titans turned the screws in front of 9,975 fans.
Wests Tigers could have earned the overnight competition lead by winning their 400th game since becoming a joint-venture.
But Gold Coast rallied to ensure the visitors had nothing to celebrate.
The Titans did their best to keep James Tedesco in check although the NSW fullback hopeful still managed 156m and two try assists.
No stranger to a rollercoaster game this season, Wests Tigers captain Aaron Woods admitted this time they couldn’t halt the Titans’ second half momentum swing.
“We didn’t handle it too well,” he said.
“We were trying to throw it out of our bums too early.”
Wests Tigers backrower Chris Lawrence was placed on report for a 26th minute dangerous tackle on James.