Moses Mbye is out to prove he’s the man to inherit Johnathan Thurston’s coveted Queensland jersey during Friday’s NRL All Stars match.
The Canterbury half will have a golden chance when he runs out for the World All Stars opposite Indigenous All Stars and Maroons great Thurston in Newcastle.
Thurston, a two-time premiership winner, four-time Dally M Medal winner and Clive Churchill Medallist, retires from representative football at the end of 2017.
Maroons coach Kevin Walters has set the field to replace the man considered a future Immortal when he invited Mbye, Brisbane pair Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford and Melbourne fullback-turned-playmaker Cameron Munster to last month’s Emerging Origin camp.
Australian coach Mal Meninga chose Mbye and NSW halves hopeful Mitchell Moses to steer the World All Stars and the 23-year-old Noosa product knows a big performance can set the tone for his start to the season.
“There’s an opportunity there – when one person drops out you need another person to fill in,” Mbye said.
“It’s going to be an opportunity for one of us boys to jump in.”
Mbye is relishing the chance to work under Meninga, who has a high opinion of him after selecting the Bulldog for last year’s Prime Minister’s XIII trip to Papua New Guinea.
The Canterbury playmaker emphasises the only way to further his representative ambitions is to produce sustained form for the Bulldogs.
“Concentrating on clubland for the first half of the season, that’s the only way you’re going to get picked in a side like that,” he said.
After last year’s first-week finals exit and criticism of their playing style, Bulldogs coach Des Hasler comes into the season under pressure to deliver.
Mbye denies they’re predictable or that it’s on his shoulders to take the reins.
“We’ve tweaked a couple of things here and there,” Mbye said.
“The predictable thing, I don’t know. You only have to look back to 2014 and we made the grand final playing a similar style. You look back to 2012 we had the same result with a similar style.
“To be honest I think it comes down to execution, there’s no doubt we created enough opportunities throughout the season.”