‘I was once a lock’: Cobbo stirs up Maroons Hornet nest

Joel Gould |

Queensland utility Selwyn Cobbo says he is ready to play in the forwards if called upon.
Queensland utility Selwyn Cobbo says he is ready to play in the forwards if called upon.

Selwyn Cobbo played lock for Cherbourg Hornets as a youth which is another reason why he has vowed to be ready for any assignment Queensland coach Billy Slater has for him off the bench.

The versatile 21-year-old Brisbane outside back has played fullback, wing and centre with equal aplomb in the NRL.

He has been named to play in the No.17  jersey for the Maroons in the State of Origin opener in Sydney on June 5.

Queensland selector Darren Lockyer said Cobbo was “just like Greg Inglis” for his ability to play all outside back positions, which are where he is mainly going to provide cover for.

Cobbo could also be called on by coach Billy Slater, like Kalyn Ponga on his Maroons debut in 2018, to play in the middle as a roving forward at a strategic moment.

“If Billy wants me there I will play in the middle and try my best. I played lock growing up and it is something I am not afraid of,” Cobbo said.

“(I like) being in the middle and around the action. There’s a lot of ball and that’s why I loved playing lock growing up.

“Wherever Billy plays me I will do the team proud, and my state.”

Slater was asked if he might play utility Cobbo in the middle like the Maroons previously have with Ponga, Cooper Cronk and even Daly Cherry-Evans in the past.

Selwyn Cobbo.
Selwyn Cobbo scores a try during game one of the 2023 Origin series in Adelaide. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

“That’s a good idea. Do you want to come into camp? Selwyn is a wonderful player,” Slater said.

“He’s a big lad and capable.

“He’s played a fair bit of centre this year. He’s played on the wing for Queensland previously. We saw what he did two weeks ago when he played fullback (for the Broncos).

“We will build what is best for the team but that might be taken out of our hands. Four of the last six Origin games we have had to replace an outside back. If that happens then Selwyn is wonderful player to have.”

Lockyer hit the nail on the head when he said Cobbo reminded him of Inglis. A proud Indigenous man, the Broncos flyer idolised the Maroons great.

“Growing up I loved watching GI. I loved what he did on the field in Origin and clubland,” Cobbo said.

“Even off the field as well, with what he has done for his people. That is something I want to do as I grow up as well.”

Cobbo shone in Queensland’s series win in 2022. Last year he played game one before a hip injury ruled him out of the rest of the series. To get the call-up from Slater on Sunday night was a thrill.

“Billy said I would be coming off the bench …  and to go out there and have fun,” Cobbo said.

“At (the Broncos) I have been playing all over the field and I never knew where I would play in Origin or if I would get picked. It was a surprise for me, but I am so happy to be here and do whatever it takes to win.”