NSW back-rower Ryan Hoffman says he wouldn’t miss the City-Country clash despite being given the opportunity to do so by coach Brad Fittler.
When NSW City Origin coach Brad Fittler gave Ryan Hoffman the chance to sit out Sunday’s clash with NSW Country in Dubbo the Melbourne back-rower didn’t think twice about rejecting his offer.
Hoffman will skipper Fittler’s side for a game that last year proved to be the springboard for his recall to the NSW State of Origin team after a five-year absence.
Although the City-Country game has been criticised in some quarters as antiquated, Hoffman is adamant it’s still worthy of a place on the calendar and still presents a great opportunity for players with the right attitude to play themselves into contention for state and country.
“That is what this game is, it’s about putting your best foot forward for an Origin jersey,” Hoffman told AAP.
“It certainly didn’t hurt my chances last year.
“The thing is if you go out there with the singular focus of playing Origin you won’t.
“You need to go out and play and do your job well and that’s what gets you noticed.
“I got another taste of Origin last year and got the bug and hope to be back again this year.”
Several other senior players were not selected for the City-Country clash including halfback Mitchell Pearce, Newcastle utility Kurt Gidley, Canterbury hooker Michael Ennis and South Sydney five-eighth John Sutton.
Blues coach Laurie Daley felt all them had nothing to prove to him and 31-year-old Hoffman was also extended the opportunity to take a week off.
“I certainly don’t take these things for granted, and last year it put me in a good chance for Origin so why wouldn’t I play?” Hoffman said.
“It’s still a honour to play for City, this will be the seventh time I have played this game and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every camp.”
In a bid to prevent an eighth straight State of Origin series defeat Daley and the NSWRL have taken the decision to base the Blues team in Coffs Harbour before the first and third matches to be played in Brisbane.
In previous years they have been in the beachside suburb of Coogee in Sydney’s east, and Hoffman said the players were all behind Daley’s plan.
“I thought Laurie was fantastic last year I really did and it was shame we couldn’t win for him,” he said.
“But he would have learned a lot from it and I think all of the players would love to win the series for him.
“We had a couple of Origin meetings in the off-season that outlined the changes they were bringing in for camp and they sounded good.
“But I have to get in the team first and then I can enjoy the facilities up there.”