Cord­ner’s first taste of life with­out Smith

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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

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