NEWCASTLE Knights prop Kade Snowden admits he did not deserve to be picked in last month’s representative teams but has not given up hope of winning a NSW Origin recall.
A Kangaroos and NSW representative last year, Snowden was overlooked for both the Australian and Country Origin teams who played on April 22, despite statistics suggesting he was in better form than some of the props who were chosen.
The 25-year-old has started in all eight games for Newcastle this season and has played more minutes, made more metres and more tackles than St George Illawarra’s Michael Weyman and Gold Coast’s Luke Douglas, who were the run-on props for Country.
But asked yesterday if he was disappointed about his omission, Snowden produced a candid reply.
‘‘Not really,’’ he said.
‘‘I sort of knew, having time off [injured] last year and not being in the best form this year.
‘‘So, yeah, they made the right decision and I just need to get back in the form I was in the middle of last year to get that selection.’’
Snowden’s self-assessment may be a touch harsh, given that he has carried the ball further than any Knights forward and is Newcastle’s fourth-most productive defender, behind Chris Houston, Danny Buderus and Zeb Taia.
His average contribution of 116.9metres and 27.2 tackles per game compares favourably with his stats at Cronulla last season (118.5m and 26.2 tackles), when he made his international debut in the Anzac Test against New Zealand.
Unfortunately for Snowden, he was well below his best against the Dragons on April 13, producing 57m in attack and 26 tackles just two days before representative selectors named their squad.
The Lakes United junior rated his 97m and 32 tackles in Monday’s win against Penrith a ‘‘step in the right direction’’ and said he had not given up hope of earning his third NSW call-up during this year’s interstate series, which kicks off on May 23.
‘‘I really want to play,’’ he said.
‘‘I just need to get back to that consistency and the way I was playing last year and I might get a spot.’’
One factor in Snowden’s favour is NSW coach Ricky Stuart, who lured him to Cronulla in 2008 after he was controversially asked by then Knights mentor Brian Smith to move on, despite having a year to run on his contract.
‘‘Ricky’s been close for me, being my coach when I first moved down there,’’ Snowden said.
‘‘He probably made me into the player I am.
‘‘I owe Ricky a lot.
‘‘But what he decides to do with the team, that’s his decision and I’ll be happy with it.’’
After Sunday’s clash with the Roosters in Sydney, Snowden will have just one more chance to press his claims before Origin I, when Newcastle host North Queensland on Saturday, May 12.
Newcastle are yet to register back-to-back wins in their eight games this season, a goal they hope to realise against the similarly enigmatic Roosters.
‘‘We haven’t done it yet, so we really want to win this week, and we’re confident,’’ Snowden said.
‘‘They [the Roosters] do a lot of scoots, so we’re going to have to look out for their back three.
‘‘If we can control them coming out of our own end, we can control the game.’’