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Coach O’Brien backs Mann for QLD Origin role

Kurt Mann’s versatility could ultimately see him catapulted into the State of Origin arena with calls for the livewire to don the Queensland jersey growing louder by the week.

Since arriving in Newcastle last season, Mann has filled almost every role but prop and excelled with every positional switch.

Currently playing hooker for the nib Newcastle Knights, Mann has continued with standout 2020 season, prompting talk of an Origin start at the end of the year.

According to Coach Adam O’Brien, Mann would not look out of place on the representative stage with his work ethic and adaptability proving to be his greatest asset.

“I think he’d be great in that number 14 jersey for Queensland,” O’Brien told RadioTAB.

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“You know he’s going to compete and give everything he’s got and he’s got so much coverage.

“If you lose a guy in the centres, or a forward or half, or fullback – Kurt’s your man.

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“You can just stick him out there and he’ll compete and ultimately that’s what Origin is. Find a way to get it done and that’s what Kurt does.”

With 121 games of first grade experience, 27-year-old Mann is enjoying his most consistent year to date.

Having spent the bulk of the season at five-eighth an unprecedented injury toll has seen him play hooker and centre in the later rounds.

Asked if there was a position Mann wouldn’t be able to play if needed, O’Brien replied; “There wouldn’t be one.”

“That’s the honest answer. He’s the type of kid you rely on so heavily. It doesn’t matter where you put him. He just competes.

“He was easily our best performer against the Cowboys in that loss. He fights hard and competes on everything. He’s one of the first names I put down on the team sheet every Tuesday. I just don’t know which position I’m going to stick him in but I know he’s going to be out there for us.”

The 2020 Origin fixtures will be played at the conclusion of the NRL season on November 4, 11 and 18.