Simple advice that returned Oates to form

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It was a simple rev-up from Souths Logan coach Steven Bretherton that has helped take Corey Oates from Queensland Cup to Maroons State of Origin contention.

Of all Brisbane players, none have represented the club's plight in the past two years like Oates.

This time last year the winger was in the doldrums, so much so he was axed back to Queensland Cup after their Magic Round thrashing from Manly.

"I took the losses to heart," Oates admitted.

"I'd been here so long. I started to try and do too much and tried to change a lot."

This year, Brisbane have returned to the top eight ahead of Magic Round against Manly and Oates is quite clearly back.

He has scored seven tries in nine games and made more metres than any other winger in the competition.

He is also back feeling like himself on and off the field.

And for that, he thanks Souths Logan coach Bretherton.

"The Q-Cup coach I was with at the time really helped me and said, 'I'm a big believer in you' and to get back doing the simple things," Oates said.

"It was a massive thing for me.

"It wasn't not enjoying it but I was just getting frustrated with myself ... I was putting so much pressure on myself to perform.

"I didn't realise what I was doing before that was enough.

"All the hard carries and showing up for all kicks, those small effort areas, that's what I brought to a team. He made me realise that."

Oates remains off contract at year's end, and while he has indicated he wants to stay at Brisbane he has told his management he will not be distracted by talks this early in the year.

The 27-year-old will also likely be a serious option for the Dolphins with Wayne Bennett in charge and a lack of other decent outside backs on the market.

Origin contention also looms.

Oates, who last played for Queensland in 2019, would likely be jostling with Kyle Feldt for a wing spot, assuming Valentine Holmes plays in the middle and Xavier Coates on the other side.

But above all that, the message from Bretherton remains the strongest in Oates' mind.

"I'm just trying to enjoy it and get back to being me," he said.

"Get my carries, competing on all the plays and just finishing the tries off when I get the chance to. Just being there for the chance of the ball falling in my hands.

"For the past few years I just haven't been there every time.

"When a ball was going somewhere, I wasn't always there. I am just trying to do those things better.

"Being there for the bounce. The small things you don't get looked at for, but it's a big play if it comes off."

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