"I'm Not Ready For Origin"
He was touted as the Blues five-eighth just a few weeks into the season, but Roosters recruit Luke Keary says State of Origin talk is premature and that he must prove himself for a year or two before he considers himself ready for the representative arena.
Former players were glowing in their praise of the 25-year-old after his hot start to the year, calling for Keary and Roosters teammate Mitchell Pearce to form the NSW halves pairing for the 2017 Origin series.
After four seasons with archrivals South Sydney, Keary has made an immediate impact at the Tricolours with 10 try assists and three tries in the opening 11 rounds to help his side to within one win of competition leaders the Storm.
It didn't take long for Keary's name to be thrust into the Origin mix, but the man himself believes it takes more than just a couple of months of good form to be considered for a rep jersey.
"When you're playing decent footy, you start to hear all this talk about whether you should be picked for Origin," Keary told NRL.com.
"I honestly believe that you have to prove yourself over one or two seasons with solid, consistent footy and then you can put your hand up and say 'I'm ready for Origin'.
"I think I've had a decent start to the year but there's no way you can stick your hand up for Origin after 11 games. If I can play a couple of solid seasons then I'll consider myself a chance for rep teams.
"There are blokes like James Maloney and even Cooper Cronk who didn't start playing rep footy until they were a bit older. They had to prove themselves over a long period of time at club footy before they got a crack and I think that's how it should be."
Keary can't to wait for May 31 to roll around so he can cheer on teammates Boyd Cordner, Dylan Napa, Blake Ferguson, Aidan Guerra and Mitchell Pearce in the series opener.
"I'm really excited to watch our boys go around," he said.
"Boyd got the captaincy which is awesome, 'Naps' will play his first Origin game, 'Fergo' and Aidan have been there and done it, and Mitch comes back after a year off so it'll feel like a first game for him in new surroundings."
It remains unclear who will partner Keary in the halves with Pearce unavailable for the clash against the Canberra Raiders on Sunday afternoon, but the 25-year-old has faith in whoever steps in.
"I think the systems that we've got in place here are strong enough to get us through periods when we lose players," he said.
"We haven't spoken about what we're going to do with the team this week. We've got Mitch Cornish, Jayden Nikorima and Connor Watson who can all come in.
"Whether they chuck an out and out No.7 like Mitch in and keep me at six or if they decide to put Connor or Jayden there and move me to halfback, I'm not too sure, but we'll be right no matter what.
"It doesn't really bother me what role Robbo (Roosters coach, Trent Robinson) gives me this week.
"Whenever you lose your halfback it's obviously going to force you to change your game a little bit. Whichever way we go, I reckon it'll be a little bit of fun to mix things up after 11 games."
This article first appeared on NRL.com