James Maloney has welcomed the chance to go head to head with Josh Reynolds in a bid to win back the NSW State of Origin five-eighth jumper.
But Maloney believes his best chance lies in ensuring his NSW Country Origin team performs well rather than trying to outshine NSW Country No.6 Reynolds in any personal duel during Sunday’s representative match in Wagga Wagga.
NSW Origin assistant Brad Fittler has stated there are up to eight NSW jerseys up for grabs and the Blues selectors are yet to settle on their halves combination.
Country skipper Maloney is well aware the spotlight will be on him and Reynolds, with both players needing to show they can step up after some inconsistent form in the NRL.
“It’s a good opportunity coming up against Josh,” Maloney said.
“He’s the incumbent and the fact he’ll be playing in the City side it gives whoever’s watching an easier yardstick.
“I try not to focus on going out and having a one-on-one battle with the opposition, we need to gel as a side and play good footy as a team.
“If you go out and do everything individually then you hang yourself out to dry and it doesn’t come off.”
Reynolds’ start to the year for Canterbury has been indifferent and he returned from a fractured arm just three weeks ago.
He was named as City five-eighth in an effort to get more football under his belt ahead of the May 27 State of Origin series opener in Sydney.
The Blues are keeping their options open and Maloney said he hadn’t given up on playing in the sport’s biggest arena once again.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen and where they’re going to go,” Maloney said.
“All I can control is my footy and (making sure), if they’re not happy with someone else and they’re looking around, then my footy is good enough to warrant selection and I can get another crack at it.”