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 on Saturday night was named in a Blues' 20-man squad for Origin II after nailing his audition in the Titans' emphatic 32-10 NRL defeat of Canterbury earlier in the day at Belmore Sportsground.
The Titans' skipper and Cronulla prop Matt Prior are two of three new faces in Brad Fittler's extended squad.
One of them will replace Blues starting prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard, who will miss next Sunday's game two at ANZ Stadium due to a fractured jaw.
James received the biggest thrill of his career before Origin I when he was rung by NSW management and told 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 Fittler to have a change of heart and include the Bulldogs' prop ahead of James.
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."
For the second week in a row, James was immense for the Titans and could hardly have done more with Origin spots on the line.
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 and it had inspired him to lift his game.
"It was devastating but you can't do much about it," James 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."