Ryan James, the rampaging Titan about to crop his mop for charity, today left one training camp to another after being called into the NSW Blues squad that was extended by three players.
Ryan will get a feel of State of Origin preparation as part of the squad until Sunday in a clear indication by Blues selectors that he is in their minds and on the fringe of inclusion should there be injuries or the team does not perform well in Game One.
He was added to the 17-man squad with Dragons' Tyson Frizell and Panthers' Matt Moylan to give them experience in camp and act as shadow players should any of the selected squad be injured.
The Titans had been in camp at Casuarina just inside the NSW border since Monday morning, combining a review of their first 10 rounds, team building and hard training before they break until resuming for work as usual on Monday.
James, who has hardly missed a minute of the first 10 rounds after being moved by coach Neil Henry to the back row and left edge, didn’t mind losing his four-day rest break to head to Coffs Harbour to join the Blues camp.
“Not at all,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to be part of the Origin build up and to know I’m on the edge of selection,” James said.
“It’s a great NSW team and to be called up and told I am in the selectors’ minds is a real confidence booster.
“I want to take everything I can out of the few days in camp and learn from the coaches and experienced players and hopefully one day my time will come to wear the NSW jersey.
“After a bad run with injury it’s been great to put the first 10 games of the season together and play 80 minutes in just about all of them.
“Obviously Neil putting me back to the second row has added another dimension to my game and gives me a bit of extra versatility that the selectors might be looking for.
“I know I have a long way to go in improving my game and that just playing good consistent footy for the Titans has to be the platform for any further rep honours. I’m just glad to be in the picture.”
James is in the middle of an eventful period of his year. Not only has he not missed a match after shoulder injuries restricted him to four last season, he has played for Country Origin, is now getting experience with the Blues, gets married in late July … and is ready to crop his signature wild locks for young Harrison Wheatley.
He climbed the stand to give Harrison his boots at a recent game and when he found that ‘Harry’ suffered a cervical spine condition and is wheelchair-bound yet will get to his feet to walk the last kilometre of the City2South fun run in Brisbane on June 14, Ryan decided he would cut his long locks short for the wedding to help him raise money for the Starlight Foundation.
Harrison’s Everyday Hero fund-raising account had an instant lift and is now over $2300 but short of the $5000 target the Titans have cited.
To donate to help Harry and make Ryan’s dramatic new look worthwhile, click here: