Wallace auditioning for Origin
He earned a points decision over incumbent Maroons prop Josh McGuire and now Titans prop Jarrod Wallace intends to use a head-to-head confrontation with two of the Blues' best to further push his Origin claims.
Wallace delivered the finest performance of his 80-game NRL career in running for 264m and making 33 tackles on Friday night, he and good friend McGuire engaging in an epic one-on-battle in centre field.
With the retirement of Corey Parker and season-ending knee injury to Matt Scott, there are opportunities for new players to force their way into Kevin Walters' Queensland squad and McGuire gave his former team-mate a ringing endorsement.
“I don't think Jarrod would look out of place in a Maroons jersey,” McGuire said.
“Obviously there are a lot of people pushing for those jerseys but if his name got read out I'd be one of the happiest for him.
“I'd be just as happy as he is and he's doing everything in his power to get the opportunity.
“He's playing some great footy. I'm really happy for Jarrod, to head down there and get the opportunity he deserves.
“Obviously they haven't been winning but I think he's been one of their standouts this year.
“He's been playing at a consistent level and a higher grade of football at the moment.”
Jarrod Wallace at QAS Emerging Origin Camp earlier this year.
While Wallace got the better of the statistical showdown, McGuire's Broncos got the two competition points, a trade the Titans front-rower would have been only too happen to make with his side still mired near the foot of the ladder with just one win through seven weeks.
Getting a second win for 2017 against a Sharks team that has gone 169 minutes without conceding a try shapes as a difficult assignment for a Titans team rocked by injuries to three more players on Friday night, but one that has significant implications for Wallace.
Cronulla's captain Paul Gallen is one of the Blues' most decorated players and Wade Graham and Andrew Fifita are both incumbents in Laurie Daley's New South Wales team, providing Wallace with the perfect platform on which to further impress Walters and the Queensland selectors.
“They're two big shots, they're both NSW players and both leading the tackles, leading the metres in the comp for front-rowers so it's going to be a real good test," McGuire said of his impending clash with Gallen and Fifita.
“I had Josh McGuire and Adam Blair to go up against [on Friday night] so I'll be looking forward to going up against the two boys next week and trying to put another good performance in.”
After five years at the Broncos, Wallace returned to the Gold Coast in the off-season determined to prove he could be a starting front-rower in the NRL and in the process believes he has shown enough to suggest he could handle the Origin arena if given the chance.
“I'd be stoked if I got the jersey, I'd take it with both hands and definitely go out and give it my best,” Wallace said.
“I wouldn't let anyone down that's for sure, but there are some good contenders there and if I do get the job I'll be putting my hand up for it.
“I've just got to keep playing consistent footy here and anything can happen from there.
“I was pretty stoked when [McGuire] said something like that, but I'm just happy that I'm playing consistent footy here.
“There's obviously some really good front-rowers that are in contention for it so at the end of the day I just want to keep playing footy here and if I get the opportunity to do it I'll be stoked.”