St George Illawarra hooker Cameron McInnes has withdrawn from social media and stopped watching other NRL teams play in a bid to shut out the speculation about his NSW prospects.
McInnes and his former South Sydney teammate Damien Cook are believed to be involved in a two-horse race for the Blues' No.9 jersey but the Dragons hooker has taken steps to block out the Origin talk to focus on his role with the Telstra Premiership leaders.
"In all honesty, with all the Origin talk I don’t know how everyone has been playing week to week because I haven’t been watching it and I haven’t been analysing it," McInnes said.
"It is just an approach I have taken this year for me to keep my head clear and I don’t go on social media or things like that. I love footy and sometimes I could find myself watching every game and things like that.
"I look forward to coming to training every day and playing every week with the way I am approaching this right now and I make sure I watch the team I am up against so I have done my due diligence on that but I haven’t been analysing other players or what they are doing.
"At the end of the day it’s how I play and I have just wanted to play well for the Dragons.”
Coaches Corner: Edge defence and attack
The 24-year-old has scored two tries and been responsible for another four from dummy half this season, while averaging 37 tackles.
McInnes said he wasn’t sure if he’d done enough to convince new Blues coach Brad Fittler that he was the man for the hooking job.
"I have played good footy for the team, my coaches are happy with the way I have been playing and my team-mates are. As for the selectors, I don’t know what they are thinking," he said.
With six Dragons players under consideration by Fittler and a four from Penrith, Saturday night’s top-of-table clash with the second-placed Panthers may decide places in the Blues team to be announced at The Star on Monday night.
"It is not about burying my head in the sand, it is just about keeping my focus narrow," McInnes said. "I think a lot of the boys have done that too. There is a lot of talk around it and we are all lying if we say we don’t want to play State of Origin, of course we do.
"But I think the reason we have been going so well is because guys have been putting their egos aside and doing what is best for the team, not what’s best for them getting into Origin.
"The funny thing is that when you do that, it is probably when you get picked."
McInnes loving'two horse race' for Origin
St George Illawarra halfback Ben Hunt is also expected to be chosen in the Queensland team but it is less certain which position he will play after the representative retirement of Maroons captain Cameron Smith.
Hunt was the back-up hooker for Smith in Australia’s World Cup winning team and is believed to be locked in a battle with North Queensland’s Michael Morgan to determine who plays halfback and as the bench utility.
"He was sitting on the bench for Australia last year as a hooker so that would be interesting if my club halfback was the hooker for the country at the end of the year but that is the type of player Ben is," McInnes said. "You could put him in any position and he will do a good job."