Bolter: Boyd Cordner only became a regular first-grader last year. Photo: Brendan Esposito”Seriously? Wow. I don’t know … This has caught me by surprise.” That was the reaction of Roosters back-rower Boyd Cordner as he pulled a Captain Planet outfit from his car boot, readying himself for the club’s Mad Monday celebrations.
Cordner was holding his superhero uniform in one hand when Fairfax Media told him of his shock World Cup selection, capping a dream 24 hours for the 21-year-old. Cordner, who was just coming to terms with having won a premiership in his third year of first grade, has topped a dream season with selection in Australia’s 24-man squad announced on Monday morning.
The Old Bar Pirates junior started this season with one clear goal after becoming a regular first-grader last year – to represent Country Origin, having been part of NSW under-20s team just last year.
Cordner, who ticked off his representative goal in April, can now add a Test debut to his Origin and premiership achievements after making his first NSW appearance from the interchange bench in game three.
This season hasn’t all gone to script for Cordner after his campaign looked to have ended when he suffered a serious ankle injury against Canberra in round 21. He made a decision to dedicate himself to his
rehabilitation and to ensure he would not miss out on a potential grand final, by setting a goal of returning one game before the premiership decider. He came close to fulfilling that wish, but was overruled by the medical staff, despite wanting to play against Newcastle.
So keen was Cordner to play, he took his boots to the game. Coach Trent Robinson later revealed he was prepared to gamble on picking his vice-captain had Sonny Bill Williams succumbed to a bout of food poisoning.
”I don’t know how or what to feel. It’s unbelievable,” Cordner said, who dressed as superhero Captain Planet as part of the Roosters mad Monday festivities. ”It’s a dream of any kid. Not only to win a grand final but to play for Australia this early in my career at 21. I’m just so grateful. I don’t know what to say. It’s ridiculous. I can’t describe how I’m feeling at the moment. It’s going to take a while to sink in. I didn’t think I would get here at all.”
Robinson showed the ultimate faith in his young charge by declaring Cordner a certain starter if he was fit, despite his extended lay-off. The coach kept his word and Cordner was a late inclusion to play in the grand final. Cordner proved his fitness with an exhaustive test on Wednesday, which Robinson likened to ”grand final” intensity. He started at lock and was strong in a 52-minute performance on Sunday night, although he was beginning to struggle towards the end of his first stint in the opening half.
”I was never going to miss this game,” Cordner said. ”Coming back from the injury makes it so much sweeter. I can’t thank Robbo and the physio and medical staff enough. They got me back on the park. I always knew I was going to get back. I wanted to play last week but this week is good enough. It was touch-and-go but I would have played for sure.”
Twitter – @MCarayannis
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.