North Queensland Cowboys football manager Michael Luck has endorsed emerging stars Jeremiah Nanai and Reuben Cotter for Queensland selection for the upcoming State of Origin series.
Nanai, 19, and Cotter, 23, have been integral members of a resurgent Cowboys team that has defied expectation and are favourites for their upcoming clash against the Melbourne Storm.
Luck believes that Queensland's players are in far better form than NSW players and that Nanai and Cotter thoroughly deserve state debuts.
“They’ve probably got the better team, but the Queensland players are in better form this year,” Luck said on SEN's Pat and Heals.
“Our guys are going ok, and they are in contention.
“(Nanai) could certainly add something if you are looking for an ace up your sleeve late in the game.
“He has got some skills that not a lot of other players have got.
“Reuben Cotter was born to play in that arena.
“He’s as tough as old boots and he’s all heart.
“I really hope he gets an opportunity…because he’s had to fight and scrap for everything that he’s got.
“He’s reaping the rewards at the moment.
“Hopefully a few of our guys get an opportunity to show their wares.
“They’d do a good job and do the jersey proud if they got a chance.”
The Cowboys currently sit in third place but face their biggest challenge of the season to date when they play the Storm and the Panthers in consecutive weeks.
Luck believes the Cowboys will be able to assess where the club is at following the two games against the previous two premiers.
“It’s a big acid test over the next fortnight with the Melbourne and Penrith double,” he said.
“I’m interested to see how we respond to this challenge.
“We need to be mentally dialled in and not get bored with doing what has worked.
“(It’s time) to test ourselves against the best.
“Really looking forward to the next two weeks.”
The Cowboys begin their tough fortnight against the Melbourne Storm on May 21.