North Queensland veteran Matt Scott has signalled to Kevin Walters and Maroons hierarchy that he's ready to end his three-year State of Origin exile.
While he was overshadowed by his tireless teammate Jason Taumalolo, Scott helped lay the platform for the Cowboys' hard-fought 17-10 win over Parramatta on Saturday at 1300Smiles Stadium.
He charged over the top of Junior Paulo and Daniel Alvaro to open the scoring and should have had another soon after however it was called back due to a Coen Hess obstruction.
He finished with 118 metres and was instrumental as his side were forced to work hard from a 10-6 deficit early in the second half.
" He carried strong and defensively he was good," Cowboys coach Paul Green said.
"He knocked out a few more minutes too."
Scott is considered an Origin hero north of the border and was instrumental during Queensland's reign of dominance over the past 10 years.
However he lost his place in the side after sitting out 2017 due to an ACL injury and an ongoing neck problem has brought his future in the game into question.
But with the Maroons undergoing generational change following the retirements of Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Greg Inglis, his experience could be key as they attempt to steal back the trophy from NSW.
For the Cowboys, Taumalolo was again immense against the Eels, charging for 216 metres and making 35 tackles in an 80-minute effort.
The Cowboys dominated everywhere on the scoreboard - they had 34 tackles inside the opposition 20-metre zone compared to the Eels' 10 as well 62 per cent of possession.
While they managed to get it done in the end against a top-eight opponent, their lack of composure at times will increase scrutiny on halfback Michael Morgan who failed to give his side direction at times.
He was guilty of throwing an intercept pass for Josh Hoffman's second-half try and was at one point caught on the last tackle with his side on the attack.
Playing alongside makeshift halves partner John Asiata, Morgan was supposed to take control of the side but failed to do so.
"I know what the guys can do," Green said of his playmakers.
"I think it was just part of that period where it took a lot of energy to get ourselves back in it off the back of that (intercept) try.
"That was part of why it took us a bit longer (to win the game). We can be better in that area, no doubt."
Australian Associated Press