Kearns' NSW selection caps

Melbourne Storm prop Robbie Kearns has labelled his selection for the NSW State of Origin side today as one of the greatest highlights of his career.

The 31-year-old is set to make a remarkable return to the representative scene following his naming in the starting front-row for the Blues side that will take on Queensland in game one next Wednesday.

?For me to get a starting spot in Origin this year is one of the biggest highlights of my career,? Kearns said.

?Six weeks ago I wasn?t even named in the 30-man squad so to come back into contention is really pleasing, I feel my form has been pretty consistent over the past few weeks.

?I?ve been fortunate enough to be selected for Origin and Australia a few times now and you never know when it will be your last so this time round is very sweet.?

Kearns last wore the sky blue jersey in game one of the 2001 series before a broken rib ruled him out of the remaining two games.

The former Test prop says he is pleased to be returning to the NSW side after what was a forgettable season last year in which he lost the Storm captaincy and missed 11 games through injury.

?A lot of people have been quick to write me off and after such a disappointing season last year most people wouldn?t have been thinking about me too much,? Kearns added.

?I?ve always been one of those guys that has done my own thing and keep chipping away whether it be trying to make first grade or trying to make the Australian side.

?My priority has been to play well for the Storm and it?s said that the right people will be looking at you when you play good football and that?s been the case.?

As the Storm?s leading forward this year ? averaging 30.4 tackles and 15.1 hit ups per game - Kearns is quick to point out the direct correlation between his form resurgence and the arrival of Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy.

?Craig has given me a new lease on life in the sense that I?m really enjoying my football, I?m really enjoying the club and I?m really enjoying playing with all the guys here,? says the veteran of 16 Tests.

?In rugby league, as with most sports, people think you?re past it when you hit 30 but I still feel like I?m playing good football and I?m possibly in the best form of my career.

?Even though I might be 31-years-old I don?t feel 31, I feel like I?ve got a spring in my step and that?s the way I?m playing my football at the moment.