Evergreen Wests Tigers winger Pat Richards says playing State of Origin isn’t on his radar – but if NSW coach Laurie Daley called, he’d answer.
The 33-year-old’s performance in Monday’s breakthrough win over Parramatta has sparked talk of a potential Blues berth for this year’s series.
In the game’s final 10 minutes, Richards set up two tries in his 100th NRL appearance – including a miraculous kick pass to James Tedesco – and added a four-pointer of his own.
The goal-kicking finisher on Wednesday downplayed his starring role, saying he was just enjoying his football and role at the Tigers.
“It’s always nice to finish a game with a couple of good involvements,” Richards said.
“We were just glad to get the win in the end.”
Asked if he’d had a call from Daley since, Richards laughed.
“If that came, it’d be great – but I’m sure it won’t,” he said.
“I suppose if a few more (potential Blues stars) fall over … but who knows.
“It’s not really on my radar at the moment, it’s just about enjoying my footy and trying to play well for the Tigers.”
Almost 15 years after making his NRL debut, Richards said retirement was not on his mind and was happy to keep playing for as long as his body would allow.
“I think once you get over 30 you just take it one game at a time and that’s what I’ve been trying to do,” he said.
“So far, so good.”
Teammate Curtis Sironen labelled Richards’ efforts against the Eels “freakish”.
“He’s one of those blokes that can just pull that stuff out of his arse and just be so cool, calm and humble about it,” the second-rower said.
“It’s awesome to have a senior player like him on the wing. He kicks goals, he does all those things we need.
“How he gets around and how he interacts with all the boys, you wouldn’t know that he’s one of the oldest boys.
“We’re really grateful.”
The Tigers travel to New Zealand to face the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday.