KYLE Feldt is set to be Queensland’s Origin bolter with selectors revealing the Cowboy is a serious contender for a wing berth this year.
Feldt is in the form of his career after making major adjustments to his diet that he candidly said meant eating one plate from the buffet rather than three.
The Courier-Mail understands Feldt and Broncos giant Corey Oates are duelling for one wing spot in Kevin Walters’ team for Origin I.
Oates had a sensational start to the year but a poorly timed shoulder injury saw him miss two weeks and he was clearly still hampered in Brisbane’s win over the Gold Coast.
Feldt was a major reason for the Cowboys’ grand final win, stealing the ball in the final minute, and scoring the game-tying try.
That performance in a big game, under great pressure, showed representative selectors he could handle the spectacle of Origin and he’s continued to impress this season.
With Billy Slater out and Justin Hodges retiring, the Maroons have two backline positions to fill.
Greg Inglis, Darius Boyd and Will Chambers are certain to make the team with Feldt, Oates, Justin O’Neill and Dane Gagai contending for the final two positions.
Queensland’s chairman of selectors Des Morris confirmed that Feldt, who weighs in at 104kg, was a good chance of debuting and his name had already come up among selectors.
“He’s certainly a contender. Every time he’s been asked to step up he has,” Morris said.
“He will be discussed at the selection table. He’s taken every opportunity he’s been given.
“He didn’t lose his cool in the grand final. He takes his opportunities as a winger and has always risen to the occasion.
“You can’t ask for much more. We do have a few options for wingers though. We have good depth at the moment.”
Feldt said Origin wasn’t in his thinking but did reveal how an off-season lecture from senior Cowboys made him realise he needed to become more professional.
Before the team flew out for the World Club Challenge, captains Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston told him his diet had to change.
“A few of the older boys had a yarn to me in the off-season about my diet," Feldt said.
“The World Club Challenge gave me a chance to think about what I wanted to do with my career.
“The diet came in handy over there because you are eating buffets every night so you have to limit yourself.
“I am getting old now and starting to mature and I want to know what I am going to do with my career.
“I had to cut back on my portion size. I was always eating two to three plates.
“I cut back to one and lost a couple of kilos. I feel it in the game, I feel lighter and better.”