Newcastle prop David Klemmer has dismissed any suggestion State of Origin selection will be a motivational factor for him on Sunday when he goes head-to-head with Titans enforcer Ryan James on the Gold Coast.
Klemmer reportedly "pinched" the NSW Blues' Origin jumper supposedly ear-marked for James before game one of the series last season with the Titans prop advised to pack his bags for NSW camp only to be told he had missed out to Klemmer just before the squad was officially announced.
Reminded this week of the disappointment of being shunned at the last minute before the start of the 2018 series, James says playing Origin remains a goal and described the prospect of facing Klemmer on Sunday as " a challenge you love to come up against".
"I still have got the desire to chuck on a Blues jersey and play in that arena," James told NRL.com.
"Klemmer is a great player, an Origin forward and Australian forward.
"They are the challenges you love to come up against and we'll be trying to get one over the Knights. I was just happy to be in around the [NSW] squad but to be a part of it makes you more hungry because you are nearly there.
"You can taste it but you are not actually eating it. You are close enough, but close enough is not good enough."
When asked about James' comments on Thursday, Klemmer shrugged them off like he would a half-hearted defender.
"I've got to worry about doing my job for my footy side," he said.
"Origin is a long time away. I'm not thinking about Origin just yet, I'm worried about the Newcastle Knights.
"If he is thinking about that then good on him. I need to help win footy games."
Klemmer admits his side's search for a much-needed win has become critical.
"When you look at the record [one win from five games], you've got to start thinking like that," he said.
"You can't keep losing footy games so we have to start winning a couple of games in a row and building some consistency."
Klemmer says the side's start to the season has been "frustrating".
"We have been in games where we could have won and that's the frustrating thing. We've got to start getting our season on a roll, we've got to start winning footy games."
Asked if the forward pack had taken the side's lack-lustre loss to Manly last weekend personally given the lack of intensity to start the game, Klemmer said: "Definitely. We've addressed all aspects of the game and what's happened the past couple of weeks.
"We go through periods where we are looking really good and other parts, we don't look so good. We've got to start fast, we've got to start with some intensity and get the ball rolling.
"We have to take every game like it's a big game and make sure we look after ourselves and our preparation and turn up on Sunday."
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While the team may be struggling, it's impossible to fault the form of the club's marquee frontrower.
On statistics alone, he is the NRL's leading forward when it comes to making both metres and post contact metres.
In five games, he has ran for 909 metres at an average of just over 181 metres a game while he has made 336 post contact metres.