Battered de Belin Raring To Go
He's on standby as cover for injured duo Boyd Cordner and Tyson Frizell, but NSW 18th man Jack de Belin revealed he is just as bashed up as his teammates ahead of the State of Origin decider.
The Dragons lock forward has been through the wars in recent weeks with de Belin suffering a minor calf strain in the Round 15 loss to the Eels that threatened to rule him out of last week's game on the Gold Coast.
On top of the calf complaint, the 26-year-old also broke his nose in the Parramatta game and has to bandage his knees weekly due to cuts that seem to sprout on a far too regular basis.
"I didn't even realise I'd done it in the Parramatta game. It was just kind of niggling away and it didn't go away so I investigated to find out what the go was, but it's fine," de Belin said at NSW camp in Kingscliff.
"I thought I was getting cramps but I suppose I broke my nose that game as well so I didn't really think anything of it. I didn't ice it or do any rehab or recovery for it so I didn't think anything of it. That probably didn't help.
"I didn't train until pretty much captain's run last week for Gold Coast so I suppose there was a little bit of uncertainty there [as to whether I'd play] but I got through that fine and then played the game.
"I played the Gold Coast game on the weekend and got through that 100 per cent and it hasn't pulled up any worse for wear so I'll be sweet to go."
The workhorse lock forward – who said he'd be more than happy to play on an edge if called upon – is on standby for injured pair Boyd Cordner (calf) and Tyson Frizell (ribs) but expects both men to play.
In the event he is called into the final squad, de Belin said there was no way he would miss the chance to make his State of Origin debut in a game that many are tipping to be the most significant clash in interstate history.
"You'd have to cut my leg off for me not to be playing," he boldly declared.
"It'd be unreal. I suppose it's the biggest game in Origin history, and knowing that you're right there or thereabouts with a few injury clouds [it's exciting]. Knowing the boys, they're pretty tough and I think they'll be right, but if they aren't then I'm definitely ready to step up and prove a point.
"You wouldn't want to be called from out of the blue and have to learn plays. I've been here and I know the boys well, I know the plays and stuff like that so I could seamlessly fit in."
This article first appeared on NRL.com