James nails Origin audition

Steve Zemek
Gold Coast prop Ryan James has been picked in a 20-man NSW squad for State of Origin II in Sydney

Three weeks after having his NSW State of Origin dream ripped from under him, Gold Coast ironman Ryan James has put himself in the box seat for a Blues call up.

James nailed his State of Origin audition with a starring effort in the Titans' emphatic 32-10 NRL defeat of Canterbury at Belmore Sportsground on Saturday afternoon.

The Gold Coast captain received the biggest thrill of his career before Origin one when he was rung by NSW management to tell him he was in the extended squad for the series opener.

After returning home and packing his bags to head into camp in Sydney, he received a second phone call to say he wasn't required after all.

It's understood David Klemmer's performance for Canterbury against the Wests Tigers that afternoon forced coach Brad Fittler to have a change of heart and include the Bulldogs prop ahead of him.

There was a touch of irony on Saturday as James busted through a Klemmer tackle to score a decisive first-half try.

Asked if he took a touch of personal pride in that moment, James said: "I just love scoring tries to tell you the truth.

"If you're a front-rower you don't get many. I like getting over the line, it doesn't matter who it's around.

"If I can barge over for a try and get the team going forward, I'm always happy to do that."

The Origin door was opened for James when Blues starting front-rower Reagan Campbell suffered a fractured jaw on Friday night which could rule him out for the rest of the series.

Tariq Sims was brought into the Blues' camp for game one and is capable of playing in the middle, while Aaron Woods and Trent Merrin have been mentioned as possibilities along with James.

For the second week in a row, James was immense for the Titans and could hardly have done more with Fittler and his selectors no doubt watching his every move.

In his 73 minutes on the park, he ran for 121 metres, made 44 tackles and broke three tackles as well as scoring.

James was adamant he wasn't holding a grudge against Fittler after being pulled from the Origin I squad.

"It was devastating but you can't do much about it," he said.

"The best way to do it was to go out and play good footy and I thought I'd done that over the last two weeks.

"Freddy called me that night and told me what his plan was. They won so you can't really do much about that.

"The opportunity is there but it's up to the selectors. If it's there, it's there. If I don't get it, then I'll just work harder."