Halfback Ben Hunt admits he faces an anxious wait before the Queensland team is named on Monday – but not due to a troublesome thigh injury.
Hunt conceded he initially feared the worst when he collided with St George Illawarra teammate Jack de Belin and aggravated a quad cork before hobbling off in the second half of their weekend NRL loss to Penrith.
It also sounded alarm bells for Queensland coach Kevin Walters, who had been tipped to pick Hunt in the halves with Melbourne pivot Cameron Munster for June 6’s Origin I in Melbourne.
While Hunt later played down the injury, the Dragons star reckoned he still faced a sleepless night as he sweated on realising a childhood dream and being named in the Maroons No.7 jersey on Monday.
“I am extremely anxious,” he said.
“This is the biggest opportunity I have had to get in that position and I feel I played pretty well to start the year and have put my hand up.
“Origin has been on my mind all year …(but) it’s in the selectors’ hands.”
Hunt was hooked in the 46th minute after struggling to even run following early friendly fire from de Belin.
“It was maybe in the first 10 minutes. I knew it was a bad cork straight away but at the same time you do think that (worst),” Hunt said.
“But I should be right (for Queensland).”
Hunt was later seen chatting with Walters post-match at Penrith.
Asked if he had been given a heads-up, Hunt said: “He didn’t really give me much.
“He just said, ‘Get home and take care of your leg, talk to you later’. That’s about all he said to me.”
Hunt is expected to receive another chat from Walters, with the Dragons No.7 tipped to step into the big shoes left behind by Cooper Cronk.
Hunt, who made his Origin debut off the bench in game three last year, has also been linked to the Maroons No.9 jersey left vacant by skipper Cameron Smith, who joined Cronk and Johnathan Thurston in representative retirement.
Hunt said his fitness would put him in good stead if asked to fill the rake role although former Brisbane teammate Andrew McCullough is tipped to earn the spot.
Dragons de Belin, Tariq Sims, Euan Aitken and Paul Vaughan are in the NSW Origin mix and Hunt believed plenty of his teammates deserved to be picked after the top two NRL club’s impressive season start.