Despite yet another NSW snub, Gold Coast captain Ryan James is more determined than ever to snare a Blues jumper ahead of Sunday's NRL clash with Wests Tigers.
Titans coach Garth Brennan says the giant prop has not given up on a State of Origin debut before the Blues announce their game three squad for July 11's dead rubber, despite his latest setback.
James made the initial NSW squad for Origin II but was denied a debut when coach Brad Fittler opted for 31-year-old Matt Prior to fill a front row vacancy created by Reagan Campbell-Gillard's broken jaw.
It was devastating to accept but paled in comparison to what he endured before Origin I.
James was told he was in the NSW game one squad but while at home packing his bags for Origin camp Blues officials rang back and said he was no longer in their plans.
It's enough to make anyone give up.
But Brennan said James had returned from NSW game-two camp with a "spring in his step".
"James has been faultless, you wouldn't know (about his setback)," Brennan said.
"He actually came back with a spring in his step due to the fact that he really enjoyed his time in camp.
"He had gone close before but to actually spend the week in camp and warm up on game day, that sort of stuff, he got a real thrill out of it."
James responded to his game-one snub with a barnstorming display in the Titans' last round 32-10 win over Canterbury.
Brennan hoped for a similar reaction from James against the Tigers, who will welcome back club great Robbie Farah from South Sydney on Sunday at a sold out Leichhardt Oval.
But Brennan insisted James had no hard feelings towards the Blues.
"He's very passionate about the Blues. He's stoked that they won and that is the sort of guy that he is," he said.
"He had no animosity towards them, he wasn't death riding them. He was cheering them on.
"He knows he is close. Hopefully he is getting that little bit closer."
The 11th-placed Titans will need James at his best if they are to upset a Farah-inspired Tigers at Leichhardt and try and stay in touch with the top eight.
"This one is a big game for both us and the Tigers. There's a real gap developing between the top and bottom eight," Brennan said.
"And they (Tigers) will be up for it. A sold out Leichhardt Oval on a Sunday afternoon for the return of a Tigers legend - it should be a fantastic day."