Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell has declared team-mate Luke Keary is more than ready to don the No.6 jumper for NSW and believes their left-side combination would thrive in the State of Origin arena.
Keary has been talked up for a Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues debut after his stunning early season form and heroic Grand Final performance last year where he claimed the Clive Churchill Medal.
Mitchell, who also been at his rampaging best in recent weeks but admits his efforts have been bolstered by the performance of his inside man, believes Keary’s potential inclusion in the NSW squad could only mean a more lethal combination on the left edge.
“I think it would be a good opportunity after he came in amongst it in the train-on squad last year with us and he’s been hitting some (really good) form this year,” Mitchell told nswrl.com.au.
“I don’t see why it would be a problem for him to be in there.
“For me, just playing outside him I always know what he’s going to do, so it would just be a good combination from the get-go.”
Keary will be a familiar face amongst the playing group after he was named in the extended squad for all three games last year, but the combination forged at club level with Mitchell and captain Boyd Cordner could also prove decisive when the team is announced on 27 May.
He has shown his versatility in taking charge of the Roosters in the absence of halfback Cooper Cronk – cementing himself as a player with elite game management skills.
Mitchell not only feels more comfortable running out alongside his trusted five-eighth but admits he gains more confidence when Keary displays his on-field leadership qualities.
“I know what he’s going to do and when he’s going to run the ball,” Mitchell said.
“For me, he’s an awesome player to have inside because he’s going to run and he’s going to lead the team.
“I like seeing that and I like seeing him beside me because I know I’m going to get opportunities to score a try or make a break.”
Mitchell says he will take a wealth of confidence from the 2018 Origin series having debuted in emphatic style with two tries in his three appearances.
He produced some scintillating moments of brilliance in the second half of the season – scoring two hat-tricks in Round 20 and 25 respectively, before being a key figure in the Roosters’ memorable premiership win.
But while Cordner, Keary and Mitchell headline a potential tri-colours left-side combination for the Blues, Mitchell said his team-mate on his outside shouldn’t be forgotten.
“(Daniel Tupou) is outstanding with his carries and always take leadership there and (is willing) to do the tough stuff to help the boys,” Mitchell said.
“I think he would be a great fit for the NSW Blues.”