Bronco's centre Brent Tate today admitted the closet containing Australian and Queensland representative jerseys will lock on him if patchy NRL performances continue to raise their ugly head this season.
The 23-year old confirmed an inconsistent start to the season after his right defensive combination with winger Leon Bott was torn to shreds in the Broncos' embarrassing 50-4 Olympic Park crushing on Saturday night.
The pair's tackling and positional play were guilty of the Storm's five first half-tries as Melbourne's left attacking backs of Matt King and Matt Geyer ran riot with doubles to serve up an unassailable 24-4 half-time advantage.
With the April 22 Anzac Test looming and State of Origin selection under six weeks away, Tate will be hard-pressed to retain the Maroon's no. 3 spot and regain the Kangaroo position he surrendered late last year to Broncos team-mate Shaun Berrigan.
Inside the talented centre mix are the successful Tri-Nation's incumbents of Bulldog's Willie Tonga and Berrigan, while the Cowboys' ever-reliable duo of Josh Hannay and Paul Bowman boast as strong Queensland origin hopefuls.
"It's all about getting consistency," said Redcliffe-junior Tate, a starting centre in five of Queensland's past six origin battles, missing only game two last year through injury.
"The only thing you can do is play good footy for your club and get your name in the (rep) picture and if it gets read out it gets read out.
"You've got to be playing good every week and that's something I've struggled with at the moment.
"Personally I went good against the Cowboys, sort of did my job against the Warriors, played well against the Roosters and last week got pumbled all over the park."
The Broncos experienced 71-game performer said there were no excuses for allowing last weekend's Storm to tear him apart, but defended the part-played by rookie teenager Bott.
"It's pretty hard, he's only a young sort of fellow and he's still learning," a humble Tate said of the talented 18-year old. "It's going to take a bit of time for him to get his game right.
"I like playing outside him, he's a kid if I can get the ball to him I do because I know he can create something, he's got plenty of speed."
After Broncos coach Wayne Bennett confidentially predicted that the Melbourne-Brisbane contest would be decided in the forwards, Tate was quick to blame the club's most punishing defeat on the entire group.
"The forwards for the first few games of this year have been outstanding, Pet (Civoniceva) and Webby (Webcke) take it up for us every week," he said.
"They are certainly not the blame for the loss on the weekend; every player out there needs to have a hard look at themselves."
Broncos' captain Darren Lockyer was joined by former rugby league sharp-shooter Darryl Halligan after training today for advice on how to rectify a miserable month of goal-kicking.
Halligan offered his tips to the side's second-string kickers Corey Parker and Brett Seymour in a half-hour session dedicated mainly to improving Lockyer's eight from 18 this season (44%).
Broncos' Tonie Carroll will return from knee and hip problems for Sunday's clash with the Parramatta Eels after the lock trained strongly with the team today.
Centre Shaun Berrigan was absent from training due to sickness while his brother Barry Berrigan also missed the workout, but both are likely to play.
Giant winger Tame Tupou remains on the wing as Justin Hodges has not yet recovered from a hamstring strain.
Broncos vs Eels Suncorp Stadium, Sunday April 10 Kickoff 2:30pm
Broncos: Karmichael Hunt, Tame Tupou, Brent Tate, Shaun Berrigan, Leon Bott, Darren Lockyer (c), Brett Seymour, Shane Webcke, Barry Berrigan, Petero Civoniceva, David Stagg, Brad Thorn, Tonie Carroll. Interchange: Corey Parker, Casey McGuire, Darren Mapp, Dane Carlaw, Neville Costigan (one to be omitted)Like