Sydney Roosters wrecking ball Martin Kennedy has confirmed his State of Origin allegiances lie with Queensland despite growing up in NSW - not that he's expecting a call-up from the Maroons even with such an explosive start to the season.
While teammate and former Blues No 1 Anthony Minichiello declared Kennedy tailor-made for representative football, the modest forward dismissed his Origin prospects outright.
This despite another powerhouse display against Wests Tigers at the SFS on Sunday in which he displayed all the traits needed of an Origin forward - power, toughness, a menacing presence and a touch of skill.
Cornered after the game, the Lismore-born Kennedy stated for the record that he bleeds maroon, not blue, after spending his formative rugby league years in Queensland.
But that was about as much as Kennedy would offer, retreating for the first time all day when the notepads and cameras searched him out in the Roosters dressing room.
"I am not interested in anything like that (Origin talk). I just need to keep my place in the team and what happens after that happens," he said.
"The most important thing for me is to keep playing well and helping the team."
Minichiello was far more effusive.
He said of Kennedy: "He will definitely be a representative player. His work ethic is great, he is always willing to learn and is a smart kid."
"He is up there with the best I have seen."
"He is 120 kilos and can get across the park, he is pretty quick and got good leg speed."
Skipper Braith Anasta added: "He (Kennedy) was outstanding (against the Tigers). He was inspirational."
"Best game I've seen him play by a long way."
The Roosters always had the match in control - or so it seemed until Minichiello
was sin binned with 10 minutes to go with his side in front by 12.
But after repelling everything thrown at them, the Tricolours went up the other end and placed the final down payment with a try to Todd Caney three minutes from the death.
Roosters coach Brian Smith challenged his side to reach the same defensive benchmark week in, week out.
"The guys were fantastic. Even when we went down to 12 men everybody dug in and
came up with the sort of defensive effort that we'd like to see every week," he said.
"I hope that's our standard."
"I thought we did so much to hang in well with the 'D' (defence)."
"That's our goal from now on ... to build on that."
Anasta concurred, declaring: "We wanted to try and improve on last week's performance (in losing to the Bulldogs) and we didn't let ourselves down."
"It was a huge effort. We wanted to try and get some momentum going with a good performance and I think we did."
"The Tigers throw a lot at you and can wear you down with their attack but it was great to see them all work for each other."
"Everybody had each other's backs."
The Tigers had a multitude of talent sitting injured on the bench and skipper Robbie Farah carrying a groin injury but they were still in their fighting until the end.
But their poor execution in attack, especially last play options, and defensive lapses cost them any hope of victory.
"I don't think we could have played any worse than what we did in the first half," Farah said.
"Just completions and poor options at the back-end of the sets (and) a couple of soft tries (cost us)."
"We just seem to lack that direction in attack, we were all over the shop."
Coach Tim Sheens added: "I don't think some of our options at the back-end of the sets were good."
"We're not going to offer any excuses. We had enough ball (and) at 12-6 we really had a chance."
"We knew what we were doing today. We prepared well and were very confident."
"We needed a couple of things to go our way early but it didn't happen."