After turning himself into the NRL’s newest ironman, Gold Coast enforcer Ryan James is firming as a State of Origin bolter.
Since being shifted from prop to the second row by Gold Coast coach Neil Henry, James has flourished and capped his stellar start to 2015 when he was named in the NSW Country side.
The 23-year-old was only told of his positional shift four weeks out from the side’s first trial and admits his first few outings playing big minutes tested him physically.
After being hyped as a potential star when he came into first grade, his 2011 and 2012 campaigns were cut short by a knee injury and his 2014 season was ended when he underwent shoulder surgery.
He has bounced back in emphatic fashion in 2015 and has been mentioned as a smokey for a NSW jersey for their State of Origin series defence.
NSW coach Laurie Daley has in the past spoken of his admiration for the Tweed Heads product and James has been one of the Titans’ best since turning their season around with three straight wins.
After making a pleasing start to the year, James said he was beginning to tick off his personal goals, starting with lining up in Sunday’s City-Country Origin match in Wagga Wagga.
“The move to the back row has been a bit different, playing 80 minutes has been different as well,” he said.
“As opposed to just coming off the bench and being a battering ram.
“It’s been a good move and I’m still getting used to it.”
James has been restricted to just 51 games since 2011 due to a string of injuries and prolonging his career is high in his priorities.
Asked if he saw himself in the back row in the long-term, he said he hoped to in an effort to curb his run of injuries.
“I’ll probably get a couple more years out of myself if I stay out there (in the back row),” he said.
“I wouldn’t mind it. I just have to keep staying fit.”