The famous Queensland State of Origin loyalty card only goes so far, veteran Maroons prop Nate Myles says.
Myles – 32 next month – concedes he is not confident of extending his remarkable Origin career ahead of Manly’s Saturday night clash with Brisbane as part of the NRL doubleheader at Suncorp Stadium.
Queensland’s age old “pick and stick” selection policy regardless of NRL form has helped the Maroons claim 10 of the past 11 series wins.
Coach Kevin Walters says Queensland selectors will stay loyal again when they name their squad for the May 31 series opener.
It should be music to the ears of Myles, who can join the great Mal Meninga on 32 Origin games if selected.
Myles says he was not taking anything for granted after starting just two games for Manly this season.
“I am never confident,” Myles said of Origin selection.
“A lot of people may not believe that but I never go in to a series thinking I am going to get automatically picked.
“I don’t think it would be wise considering the calibre of talent in the front row stocks we’ve got.”
Myles may be relegated to the Sea Eagles bench but he appears as important as ever to Queensland.
The Maroons appear set to retain the 11-year Origin forward in the starting front row against NSW, to help guide a new-look pack.
Queensland must find a replacement for Test prop Matt Scott (knee) and inspirational lock Corey Parker (retired).
However, Myles says he wants to be picked on form – not reputation.
“I don’t want to be picked just on experience,” he said.
“If I feel I am not going to contribute on and off the field I would not feel comfortable being picked.”
Myles may have his doubts about his Origin future but no one can question his longevity.
He has missed just two matches since making his Origin debut in 2006.
And Myles is two games shy of equalling the record of Origin’s longest serving prop – former teammate Petero Civoniceva – who played 33 games from 2001-12.
That would put Myles equal fifth in most Origin games by a Queenslander, behind only Cameron Smith (39), Darren Lockyer (36), Johnathan Thurston (36) and Allan Langer (34).
Myles was uncomfortable being considered in the same elite company.
“I honestly don’t compare myself with any of those guys – I never will,” Myles said.
“I am just very fortunate.”
While he may be a rare sight in the starting side, Myles feels he has built some momentum off the bench for Manly this year.
He is averaging almost 88 run metres and 19 tackles a game.
“Obviously I have been given my opportunity this year with the bench spot due to the fact a lot of our guys are playing great footy,” Myles said.
“But if I were to compare minutes with work rate I am a lot better this year.”