Dragons back-rower Tyson Frizell's hopes of keeping his spot in the Blues team for the 2018 Holden State of Origin series were enhanced on Sunday despite St George Illawarra suffering their second loss of the season.
The 26-year-old's efforts didn't go unnoticed in their 24-10 loss to the Rabbitohs. He bagged the Dragons only two tries and ran for the most metres in the game (208m).
His long-range try in the second half showed a good deal of speed, especially for someone more used to the physical side of the game.
Frizell says his dedication to the week-in, week-out grind isn't only to give himself the best opportunity to snare a Blues jersey - he also wants to help his Dragons teammates win selection for the June 6 series opener at the MCG.
"It's a clean slate and I need to be playing good footy here and getting our team the most wins as possible to give myself and the other boys opportunity to get a jersey,'' he said.
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"I've been more consistent this start to the year compared to previous years. I've found a role in the back row and playing long minutes, where in the past I was changing from back row to middle.
"The guys that have been getting tossed around have been playing really well in previous years and they've kicked off the season really well so it will be nice to see hopefully a few boys there in a couple of week."
Both Origin teams will be announced in two weeks. In preparation for the expected absences, Dragons coach Paul McGregor has started preparing youngsters including Reece Robson and Zac Lomax for the challenges they are expected to face.
Frizell says the rookies have earned their call-up into the side.
"Leading into the rep season some of these young guys are going to get the opportunity to play, so it's nice to give them a taste of first grade now so when they do get the opportunity to play it's not a big shock to them and they can play well for us," he said.
"Reece and Zac are well deserving of their call up, people haven't seen too much of them and the effort they put in in training.
"They done well in the junior ranks and have been training outstanding for us."
The Dragons are in for another challenge this Sunday as they head to Glen Willow Stadium in Mudgee to face the Raiders in which Frizell says a win will be crucial for the side.
"Going down to Mudgee next week and really looking forward to it. We love going down to country towns," he said.
"We've had a pretty bad run with the Raiders in the past but the only way to turn this around is by winning. Winning fixes everything."