Penrith hooker Api Koroisau concedes Origin hype has mentally impacted him in the past, but he won‘t let it happen again.
Koroisau is humbled to be in Origin calculations for Brad Fittler’s NSW Blues, but he has vowed to put representative talk aside to focus on leading a young Panthers team to the premiership.
“Back in 2017, I think I might have been thinking about Origin too much,” Koroisau said.
“I don’t know that it impacted my form but as I’ve got older, I’ve come to understand that the premiership is what it is all about.
“If I could choose out of Origin or a premiership, I’d pick the premiership every day of the week.”
This title obsessed mentality doesn’t mean that Koroisau isn’t keen on making his Origin debut.
The Fijian international has been linked to a Blues jersey for several seasons now and it’s an honour he’d like to add to his resume.
“That would be massive for me,” he said.
“I’ve always wanted to play Origin and I would love to be a part of that spectacle.
“But to be honest, I think the difference is that I’ve just focused on winning the premiership this year.
“There are no real distractions for myself, and if that (Origin) does happen it will be because of what I’m doing at Penrith.
“I’ll keep being focused on trying to get the premiership first.”
Koroisau declared himself a certain starter for Friday’s clash against North Queensland in Townsville despite suffering a head knock during last week’s win over Parramatta.
He struggled to stay on his feet before Eels back-rower Ryan Matterson helped him steady before the trainer arrived.
Koroisau praised Matterson for his classy sportsmanship.
“That was awesome,” he said.
“I watched the footage back and I wrote a little comment on Facebook thanking him.
“At the time I probably didn’t appreciate it. I wanted to play on and that is what most people do when they are in that situation.
“But I was definitely thankful.
“These things have pretty bad long-term affects and if they aren’t looked after properly, they can end up bad, so it was nice of him to look out for me, especially when you are in that kind of environment where it is a competition.”
If Penrith beat the Cowboys on Friday, they will lock up the club’s first minor premiership since 2003 – which was also their last title.
Koroisau is open to be rested in the final round against Canterbury if that is what coach Ivan Cleary wants.
“I’m more than happy to do my part for the team,” he said.
“If he thinks that is having a rest for a week, then I would be more than happy to do so.
“I’m sure the other players would as well.”