David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

Ryan Hoffman fears State of Origin career is over

Ryan Hoffman. Photo / Getty
Ryan Hoffman. Photo / Getty

Warriors captain Ryan Hoffman fears his State of Origin career might be over after being overlooked for next Wednesday's second interstate clash as a replacement for suspended New South Wales back-rower Wade Graham.

Hoffman was snubbed for last month's series opener with Blues selectors preferring Boyd Cordner, before the Sydney Roosters back-rower suffered a potential season-ending foot injury in the 6-4 loss to Queensland at ANZ Stadium.

The 32-year-old was again ignored on Monday when New South Wales coach Laurie Daley named Graham to make his debut in the return clash at Suncorp Stadium on June 22, before the Cronulla forward was ruled out by the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.

Hoping he was third cab off the rank, Hoffman waited for the late-night phone call that never came, and was disappointed to learn he had lost out to St George Illawarra's Tyson Frizell.

"I was extremely hopeful I was going to get the call-up," Hoffman lamented. "I didn't hear from anyone from New South Wales but I was really hopeful of getting the call especially with the decision last night, but New South Wales have chosen to go in another direction."

Since making his Origin debut in 2007, Hoffman has made 14 appearances in the sky blue jersey, and together with Jarryd Hayne was named joint winner of the Brad Fittler Medal as NSW's Best and Fairest following the Blues' 2014 series triumph.

While still a chance to win a place in Daley's team for the third Origin on July 13, Hoffman believes the writing is on the wall as the Blues look to the future.

With Queensland chasing their 10th series success in 11 years, a Blues' defeat in game two could prompt sweeping changes, with Penrith's Bryce Cartwright another back-rower pressing hard for state selection.

"I think they've played their cards," Hoffman said. "They've had two left-edge back-rowers go down and I'm still not there so you tend to think I'm not required for the rest of the series.

"But if the chance came I would certainly take it. But New South Wales, they've made their point that they want to go in another direction, so all the best to them."

Despite his omission, Hoffman is enjoying the Warriors recent rise in form, following back-to-back wins over Brisbane and Newcastle.

Having taken over the club captaincy from former skipper Simon Mannering before round one, Hoffman led the side through an inconsistent season start that saw them struggling for form before their recent resurgence.

"We went through a bit of a lull there but we've got ourselves out of it and that's what teams do.

"You've just got to find a way to get yourself out of it and get back to playing and enjoying your football and that's what the team has done."

- NZ Herald

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