DIVING EFFORT: Maroons player Corey Oates crosses over to score during State of Origin II at Suncorp Stadium.
DIVING EFFORT: Maroons player Corey Oates crosses over to score during State of Origin II at Suncorp Stadium. DAVE HUNT

How Oates turned from a jinx into a lucky charm

THE Origin series is now locked up, but young winger Corey Oates has revealed he feared he could have jinxed the record-breaking Queensland side before his debut in Sydney last month.

Instead the kid from country Baralaba, the home town of another Queenslander, Jason Hetherington, has been something of a lucky charm for the Maroons with a perfect 2-0 Origin record.

Oates told Australian Regional Media he had deliberately kept his poor junior record against New South Wales a secret heading into his debut Origin.

Oates had lost to NSW at under-16 level and was also beaten in both his appearances for Queensland in the under-20s.

But after copping an elbow to the head as a welcome to the interstate arena, Oates made the toughest stage in rugby league look easy.

“Nobody really knew beforehand but I had never beaten New South Wales – ever,” confided the young Broncos giant.

“In everything (junior football) I had never beaten them. I didn’t want to bring that up and for it to be a bad omen.

“I tried to forget about it and I didn’t let it worry me.

“But I can bring it up now obviously with the two wins. It doesn’t really matter now, does it?”

The laidback country-raised flier has gone on to look anything but overawed in his first Origin series this year.

In the physically brutal game one, he made 16 runs for 135m. Again in game two he was impressive, making 12 runs for 120m, with two line-breaks and the match-winning try with seven minutes left in the Maroons’ 26-16 win.

Oates was on the end of some nice lead-up play from Origin magicians Johnathan Thurston and Darius Boyd, sealing the match and the series in the left-hand corner.

That was despite being targeted and roughed up by the Blues defenders.

“They were always in my face and I never had much room to move,” Oates said.

“That play (featuring Thurston and Boyd) worked well for the whole two camps and for us to actually pull it off in the game was pretty good.

“To get a try was unbelievable.”

There was no let-up back in the NRL, with Oates lasting just 19 minutes after suffering a concussion in Brisbane’s 48-6 drubbing at the hands of Melbourne last Friday night.

“I’m all good. I’ve just got a few headaches. My neck is just a bit tight but I’ll get it treated and hopefully get rid of the headaches,” he said.

Oates said James Tedesco was a good inclusion for the Blues at fullback, with the gifted Tigers custodian set to make his Origin debut on Wednesday night.

“He’s quick, he’s got pretty good options and he makes pretty good decisions,” Oates said.

JOSH SPASARO


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