He may be coy on his own Queensland selection but Coen Hess has talked up North Queensland teammate Matt Scott's claims, saying his leadership would be invaluable for the inexperienced Maroons.
Queensland incumbent Hess boosted his Origin chances by rediscovering his damaging running game in the Cowboys' drought-breaking NRL win over the Warriors, providing a perfect foil for playmaker Jake Clifford.
But Hess insisted Origin was the last thing on his mind after the Cowboys' poor NRL start, losing four games on the trot.
"I think I would be kidding myself if I looked too far ahead and worrying about Origin," Hess, who has played five straight games for Queensland, said.
"You have to look after your own backyard first."
While Hess was reluctant to push his Origin case, the Maroons bench forward had no problem promoting veteran prop Scott.
The rugged 33-year-old front-rower has not been sighted in Origin since 2016, but this week admitted he had not given up on a return after recovering from off-season neck surgery.
Hess believed the experienced Scott was just what the Queensland side needed after losing the likes of captain Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater.
"From a leadership role perspective, I think (he should be picked), and his running game now is awesome," Hess said of Scott, a veteran of 22 Origins.
"Thumper (Scott) has been around a long time now and he has obviously had a lot of success in the Origin arena.
"I am not sure which way (Queensland coach) Kevvie Walters is going to go but having Thumper in the team would be a massive boost."
Scott's Origin career appeared at the crossroads after he was surprisingly overlooked for last year's series, won 2-1 by NSW.
The former Australian Test prop also missed the victorious 2017 Origin series due to a knee reconstruction.
However, Scott's return from his second major neck operation in four years has already convinced the likes of former Queensland captain Trevor Gillmeister that he should be selected.
Scott said this week he would soon sit down and decide whether to make himself available, but admitted his fate was in Walters' hands.
Australian Associated Press