Canberra forward Elliott Whitehead believes Joey Leilua has put his hand up for Test and Origin selection with another dazzling NRL display.
Leilua’s two tries against the Warriors helped the Raiders to a third consecutive victory, with Whitehead declaring it another sign his teammate is a chance to play for Australia against New Zealand at GIO Stadium on May 5.
“He won’t be far off Australian selection,” Whitehead told reporters on Monday.
“I know he doesn’t like talking about it but he’s been playing well so hopefully he keeps playing as he is.”
Leuila’s right-edge partnership with winger Jordan Rapana has caused nightmares for left-sided defences this season, combining for 13 tries in the opening seven rounds.
Whitehead has had a front-row seat in recent weeks since switching back to his favoured position on the right-hand side at second-row.
He’s seen no evidence Leilua wouldn’t be able to cope with State Of Origin football.
“He shows it week-in, week-out how consistent he is,” Whitehead said.
“If he keeps that form he won’t be far off (Origin selection).”
Giant prop Shannon Boyd is likely to play for the Kangaroos in the Anzac Test against Rapana’s Kiwis after making his international debut in last year’s Four Nations.
While Australia coach Mal Meninga has indicated he is likely to stick with players who played well during the tournament, Boyd insists he is yet to hear anything about his selection.
“I want to keep focusing on club footy at the moment and try and play good footy so I can try and get a start,” Boyd said.
Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker is also pushing for NSW selection and Meninga has identified him as a potential replacement in the centres for the injured Greg Inglis.
He did his chances no harm on Saturday with another strong performance highlighted by a remarkable try-saving tackle on Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
“That changed the game really,” Whitehead said.
Whitehead, who has nine Test caps, could join his Raiders teammates in action during the representative round if he plays for England in their clash with Samoa.
“One of my objectives for the year is to play for England in the World Cup,” Whitehead said.
“If I get selected in the squad to play Samoa that’s the first step in the right direction for myself.
“Hopefully I’m playing well enough to get picked.”