McGregor reveals No.1 goal on comeback trail

After shoulder surgery has given Corban McGregor a firm joint again, she has fixed her eyes on the NSW Origin fullback jersey.

The 25-year-old is four games into rugby league comeback and she's right on track.

“It feels really strong, really good after a good rehab with my physio,” McGregor told nswrl.com.au

“In fact, it feels stronger than before.”

McGregor even had teammates and gym coach Justin Lang run at her right shoulder to test the contact element of her recovery.

“We progressed my return to the field really well,” she said.

“Firstly, with pad work and then body-on-body."

Of course, the ultimate test is returning to the scene of the crime, so to speak – North Sydney Oval on June 21 - for the Holden Women’s State of Origin against Queensland.

It was at the same venue last year that McGregor lasted just six minutes before she tackled Maroons Chelsea Baker and wrecked the shoulder she had dislocated previously.

“Straight after the game she came to see me,” McGregor said.

“She’s known as ‘Boney Baker’. Her nickname is ‘Bones’ and I told her I met her boney hip that night.

“It wasn’t her fault. I made the tackle but she’s been really good. We had a Jillaroos camp later in the year and she checked on me again.”

McGregor has no demons about returning to North Sydney Oval.

“It’s the same girls around me like this time last year… it’s similar training processes, so I’ve not been thinking about the negative side of it and the bad memories it brings back,” she said.

“It was just very unlucky. To be honest I don’t think about it at all when I’m playing now. I’ve pushed through it.

“I want the full 60 minutes of Origin this time around.”

McGregor is also making no secret of the fact she’d like Sam Bremner’s vacant No.1 jersey.

Bremner and winger Nakia Davis-Welsh both announced in February they were pregnant and would miss Origin this year.

“I usually play right centre in rep footy for NSW and Jillaroos,” she said.

“But I had an opportunity at fullback for the Jillaroos when we played Canada in the (2017) World Cup, which was really cool.

“I’m loving playing fullback this year at club level (Cronulla) so I’d love the opportunity to be able to get a go there in the Blues as well.

“They are big shoes to fill in Sammy – and Nakia as well – because they are two awesome rugby league players.

“But for me it just seems right. I had my down-time last year, I've been training really hard, and I love the position.

“Last year I realised I really do want to play fullback, although I didn’t get a whole heap of games there because of my injury. But the ones I did I played fullback for club and City.

“So, I’m really in the mindset for it. I’d like to get my hands on the ball a bit more.”

With McGregor likely to come back in, and Bremner and Davis-Welsh out, there will be some disruption to the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s team as they set about back-to-back Origin shields.

It might give hope to Queensland that there could be some vulnerability there.

But not if McGregor has anything to do with it.

“Absolutely not,” she said.

“We have lots of depth in our squad. So whoever that back-five will be, I have every faith they will really give it to the Queenslanders.

“Queensland is going to have to be very good this year to stop us.

“The veterans of our back five are still strong and there’s some good backs coming through.”

The NSW Blues and Origin emerging squads completed their second training day at the weekend under new coach Andrew Patmore at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence.

The NSW Under-18 squad was also put through their paces as they will play in the curtain-raiser on June 21 against Qld U18s.