Damien Cook and Cameron McInness will go head-to-head for the NSW No.9 jumper when the Rabbitohs host the Dragons on Sunday.
Damien Cook and Cameron McInness will go head-to-head for the NSW No.9 jumper when the Rabbitohs host the Dragons on Sunday.

Fight for NSW’s No.9 jumper set to explode

HE just scored a points win over Cameron Smith on the weekend.

But proud new dad Cameron McInnes isn't lying when he says auditioning for a spot in Brad Fittler's NSW team is the furthest thing from his mind ahead of this Sunday's showdown with Damien Cook.

A South Sydney junior who was pretty much pushed out of Redfern to make way for Robbie Farah, McInnes now finds himself in a shootout for the Blues' No.9 jumper with the man who has upstaged Farah this year.

McInnes is still mates with Cook and says he holds no animosity towards the Rabbitohs. But that's not to say he didn't join St George Illawarra with a point to prove.

"I just came to prove to myself that I knew I was a better player than what I was putting out (at the Rabbitohs)," McInnes said.

"You can't control everything but if you are not playing well week to week and you are not playing to your potential that is the frustrating part.

McInnes has played himself into Origin reckoning. (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
McInnes has played himself into Origin reckoning. (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

"And I still don't think that I am at my potential yet. I am getting better and I am being more consistent. But I think that is the pleasing thing.

"That comes back to the faith Mary (coach Paul McGregor) has shown in me and all the coaching staff, and the way the boys have accepted me.

"I love it here at the Dragons."

But while Origin talk has been the focus for everyone else in recent weeks, McInnes revealed how the birth of his new baby boy has dominated his world.

In fact, after the Anzac Day win over the Sydney Roosters, McInnes rushed from the field to drive back to Wollongong so he could join his fiancee Rachel in hospital.

"The induction process started on Anzac Day but the hospital told me that he would probably not come until Thursday," the 24-year-old beamed.

The hooker didn’t wait after the Anzac Day victory. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)
The hooker didn’t wait after the Anzac Day victory. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

"But I just wanted to be there so I left and went straight there."

Little Talanoa ended up arriving at 7.30pm on the Thursday night.

"So it was a long day," McInnes smiled. "But it was worth every minute."

Asked if caught any sleep after the Roosters game, McInnes said: "No I didn't sleep.

"After the game I was high off the win and just looking forward to meeting him. Probably 12'o'clock the next night (he finally caught some shut eye)."

McInnes left the Rabbitohs for the right reasons. (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
McInnes left the Rabbitohs for the right reasons. (Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Not that you would have known he had any disruptions the way he handled his clash against the Queensland and Storm skipper last Sunday.

The Dragons hooker polled two votes in the Dally Ms, just shaded by captain Gareth Widdop for man-of-the-match honours.

McInnes admits he wasn't about to let Smith's reputation put him off his own game, which is a great sign for any potential Blue.

"You always admire what he has done," McInnes said.

"But when you get out on the field, if you want to give him that respect and let him do what he wants, then he is going to have a good day."

And he refuses to get caught up in the Origin hype ahead of this week's game against Cook.

"I can ignore it because I don't read papers," he said. "So the only time I hear it is when you guys say it.

"But in all honesty and this is true, I just want to keep playing good for the Dragons.

"If individual rewards come later obviously I will be happy. But I just want to keep this going.

"Because what we are creating is unbelievable and I just want to be a part of that."



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