Cordner’s first taste of life without Smith
candidate to take over from Cameron.”
At just 25, Cordner is no stranger to being thrust into pressure situations at a young age after leading NSW for the first time this year. While he may have to bide his time to become an official Kangaroos skipper — given Smith’s reluctance to miss Test matches — Cordner does want to skipper his country. He has been appointed vice-captain of the Kangaroos for the World Cup.
“I don’t want to go off and say it but it’s a goal but it’s a long way down the track,” Cordner said. “It’s a massive honour (to be given the vice-captaincy). Although there are a lot of people in this team that it could have well and truly went to, just to see my name when it was read out and had the vice-captaincy next to it was a big honour.
“Coming into this camp, if you have a look around there is obviously Cam Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk who have played about 30 Tests each, looking down the list I’m probably one of the most capped now. I’ve played 11 Tests going into a World Cup. It was a massive surprise for me to find out when I read the team.”
Cordner helped resurrect the Roosters into a genuine premiership threat while balancing the pressurecooker of Origin captaincy for the first time. The Origin series itself presented a massive “learning curve” for Cordner, who was surprised by the emotional toll of leading his state.
“I got told to be careful but after game one and the big difference after game two,” Cordner said. “Dealing with that side of things was a massive change. I couldn’t have dreamt of being a captain of my state. It meant the world to me.
“We had a great series although the last game wasn’t the best. It was disappointing with how we finished game two. We had it in our grasp and a few minutes from everything being so different. From that I learnt the most about myself, not only about myself but as a leader. I took a lot out of that. I’m better for it now.
“If you win it makes things a lot easier. It’s because it’s so big, you don’t realise how big it is.” Cordner’s first series as captain was not without its drama. A last ditch Maroons victory in game two left him heartbroken but the fallout from the game-three capitulation proved more problematic.
Coach Laurie Daley was sacked and an alleged boozy culture was at play under Cordner’s watch.
“When you have more of a role there being a captain you cop a lot more of the brunt,” Cordner said.
“I’m happy to have that and to cop that.
“After game one when you’re winning it’s smooth sailing but it’s a big test when you lose and things are different then. You have to be more resilient and trying to keep going and cop all of it on board.
“I thought I did the best that I could throughout Origin. I thought I did an OK job but there is some stuff there that I would like to work and build on.
“The responsibility you have, there is a lot of weight on your shoulders. Origin is a pretty big beast. A lot of people follow it.”
Boyd Cordner will skipper the Australian team in their trial match against Fiji today