If Sydney Roosters second-rower Boyd Cordner wants to realise his NRL premiership dream this year, he’ll have to put his Suncorp Stadium ghosts to bed.
Less than three months after playing in NSW’s no-show against Queensland in the State of Origin decider, Cordner returns to Brisbane for the NRL’s first preliminary final against the Broncos on Friday.
The one-versus-two clash takes on an interstate sentiment given the Tricolours are now the only remaining Sydney team in the final four.
Cordner is one of three Roosters players, including returning skipper Mitchell Pearce, that were bent over 52-6 by the Maroons in early July, much to the delight of a baying sellout crowd at the old Lang Park.
And while the Broncos also pipped the Roosters there back in round six, the 23-year-old admits the beating the Blues copped haunted him for a long time.
“Yeah, not so good memories last time I was there,” Cordner said on Monday.
“I’d like to forget about that. I’m looking forward to getting up there, looking to make amends and try and wipe that bad memory.”
In fact, with a spot in next Sunday’s grand final on the line, the Taree product said he was embracing the challenge that comes with arguably the NRL’s most daunting road trip.
Brisbane have lost just three games at home this year.
“As a player, you look forward to playing in games like that. That’s why you play footy,” he said.
“Obviously it’s a bit different when you’ve got 50,000 fans booing at you rather than cheering for you.
“(Game three) wasn’t the best of games, but you do draw some motivation from that. It did hurt, emotionally, for a while. You just have to put it behind you, forget about it and move on.”
Teammate Michael Jennings is another who will re-open hostilities with rival centre Justin Hodges.
For the past seven years they have marked each other in the Origin arena, coming together for their respective states on 13 occasions.
Jennings said nothing will acquit the Blues of their embarrassing loss, but conceded Friday’s clash will have the air of a Queensland v NSW battle.
“It’s got that feeling, being the only Sydney team now,” he said.
“(But) it won’t have that Origin rivalry. We still have a few of our fans up there which will come and support us. It’s going to be awesome.”