Kangaroos prop Jordan McLean admits being overlooked by NSW Origin selectors was hard to take, but he'll get the chance to take his frustrations out on the Titans this weekend when he captains the Cowboys for the first time.
With Michael Morgan on Origin duty and Matt Scott sidelined with a shoulder injury, McLean will lead from the front as North Queensland chase a third straight win.
"Yeah it was obviously disappointing. I would love to play for them at some stage but it wasn't to be, so I'll keep working hard at the Cowboys and see what happens in the future," McLean said.
"Coops [Gavin Cooper] and I get to lead the boys out this week. I'm still going to go out there and do a job and it's not really any added pressure."
The 27-year-old said he'd use the Origin snubbing as extra motivation at club level and that he was ready to step up if called upon by the Blues later in the series.
"Yeah definitely. That's a good incentive to play, but my focus is always with the Cowboys and playing well each week for them. If that opportunity comes up, I'll grab it."
Titans v Cowboys - Round 12
Another Cowboys star who missed out on Origin selection was Jake Granville, who missed out on the Queensland bench utility role to Moses Mbye.
Although disappointed, Granville said he preferred to focus on the job at hand against the Titans on Sunday.
"I really haven't been reading too much into it. I suppose to be spoken about around that time of year is pretty good, but like I've said in the last couple of weeks, I've really just been concentrating on my role with the Cowboys," Granville said.
"I think the last few weeks I've taken some steps in the right direction and hopefully I can keep building on that."
Granville said he has worked hard on 'simplifying' his style of play in order to hold on to the consistent form we've seen from him over the past month.
"The most important role for me is good service and making my tackles so it all starts there," he said.
"Just keeping that level and growing in some areas I've been working on, especially my running game and creating opportunities that the big fellas are giving me."
Although Granville has played down his chances of playing for Queensland this series, he believes the Origin team that's been picked will get the job done next Wednesday.
"I think they've got a great side to go into game one and I suppose anything can happen. I've just got to concentrate on doing my role here.
"I think Benny Hunt will do an awesome job there [at hooker] and Moses is electric as well and he can cover a number of positions."
Mbye’s Origin chance arises from a Friend
The Gold Coast were able to dispose of Manly last weekend, Granville expecting a much-improved Titans outfit on game day.
"I think last week was one of their best performances. They're a talented side and especially the halves, they're so creative and dangerous and they've got a bit of strike power across the whole pack. They'll be tough at their home ground."
The Cowboys will have to get the job done without the experience of a number of key players including Justin O'Neill who remains hospitalised in the nation's capital due to a severe spleen injury.
"We've all spoken to Justin, it's a real shame. He's in such good form, but he's a strong bugger and I'm sure he'll bounce back. He's got to stay down there for another week but he's doing pretty well," Granville said.