ST GEORGE Illawarra hooker Cameron McInnes has dismissed the prospect of launching a personal duel with NSW and Gold Coast rival Nathan Peats on Friday.
McInnes was discussed a potential Blues bolter after an outstanding start to the Dragons’ NRL campaign.
Peats was outstanding in his State of Origin debut, taking over from Robbie Farah.
However, with coach Laurie Daley’s future uncertain and NSW at risk of losing another Origin series after letting game two slip, McInnes could yet be on the radar for representative duties, sooner rather than later.
Admitting it’s a goal to play Origin, McInnes said his focus would be on keeping the Dragons in the top four hunt, rather than proving a point against Peats.
“One day I’d be honoured to maybe make NSW,” he said. “But I don’t compare or look to anyone else to do what they do, I just want to play good footy for the Dragons. If your name’s being tossed up, then you’re going OK. But when I was getting tossed around (as a NSW hooker option), the Dragons were playing consistently good footy every week and putting teams to the sword.”
McInness was an emerging junior talent, before making his NRL debut in 2014, when Peats was also at South Sydney.
Three years younger than Peats, he said the now Titans dummy-half had played a role in his own development.
“I had some time with Peatsy when we were at Souths,” he said. “He was good to me and helped me along. He’s been outstanding for the Blues and deserves his crack there.
“It will be good coming up against a hooker like him, I always enjoy the competition against guys like him, Cameron Smith and Jake Friend.”
Just three of the Dragons remaining nine opponents are currently in the NRL top eight. The Dragons have a bye next week after Friday’s trip to the Gold Coast.
McInnes is adamant the Dragons will have to discover the form which took them to the top of the ladder, to finish in the top four.
“There is a good opportunity for us heading into the bye, to get some points and try and cement that spot in the top four,” he said. “(But) if you want to fall into looking at the table, I don’t think it’s a good headspace to be in.”
- THE RUN HOME
Round 17: Friday v Titans at Cbus Super Stadium (6pm)
Round 18 bye
Round 19: Friday, July 14 Raiders at GIO Stadium (7.50pm)
Round 20: Sunday, July 23 v Sea Eagles (2pm) at WIN Stadium
Round 21: Saturday, July 29 v Knights (3pm) at McDonald Jones Stadium
Round 22: Friday, August 4 v Rabbitohs (6pm) at SCG
Round 23: Saturday, August 12 v Titans (3pm) at UOW Jubilee Oval
Round 24: Friday, August 18 v Broncos (7.50pm) at Suncorp Stadium
Round 25: Sunday, August 27 v Panthers at Pepper Stadium (4pm)
Round 26: Sunday, September 3 v Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium (4pm)