LUKE O’DONNELL is ready to sacrifice an Exiles v England Origin appearance to guarantee his full Huddersfield Giants fitness.
The 31-year-old former Australia Test back-row forward (left) has been ruled out of Saturday’s Origin opener with a hamstring injury.
But he is on course to make his Giants Super League return at home to London Broncos eight days later.
That means he could be in contention to play for the Exiles in the second Origin clash against England at the Galpharm Stadium on Wednesday, July 4 – although O’Donnell has made it clear that’s not his No1 priority.
“It would be an honour and a privilege to play for the Exiles, especially as it’ll be against England,” said former Australian NRL State of Origin star O’Donnell.
“But the only thing I’m focusing on at the moment is getting myself fit to play against the Broncos and then trying to make sure I can build up my fitness so I’m 100% for the Challenge Cup semi-final against Warrington (Sunday, July 15).
“In the bigger scheme of things, that’s far more important than playing in the second Origin game.
“After missing the start of the season following my knee surgery and then picking up a hamstring tear, I just want to concentrate on the Giants. That’s the only thing on my mind.”
England coach Steve McNamara will announce his team for the Origin opener at St Helens today, with four members of his squad set to miss out.
In contention are Giants trio Danny Brough, Eorl Crabtree and Leroy Cudjoe.