The one lure that could bring Keary home to Queensland
Ipswich product Luke Keary has poured cold water on a potential return to Queensland with Brisbane's new NRL team and says he is at peace with the Origin eligibility saga which made him a Blue.
Keary will return to Suncorp Stadium tonight when the back-to-back premiers Sydney Roosters take on the Brisbane Broncos.
At 28, Keary is now one of the NRL's top playmakers and a triple premiership winner with South Sydney (2014) and the Roosters (2018-19).
The two-time Kangaroos representative has made 137 NRL appearances for the fierce Sydney rivals since making his debut for Souths in 2013.
But Keary was born west of Brisbane and spent his formative years as a Queenslander before moving to Sydney at the age of 10.
The Ipswich NRL bid team has identified Keary as their priority signing and captain if they are granted inclusion to the NRL from 2022 or 2023, but the Roosters five-eighth admitted he would find it difficult to leave Sydney.
"My mate sent me a video clip of Ipswich wanting me as skipper," Keary said.
"I'm pretty comfortable and happy where I am at the moment.
"I'd go back if Nick (Politis, Roosters chairman) went back. I'm pretty sure Nick's from Ipswich.
"It would be cool (if Ipswich got a team), I was born there and still have family there. It's cool to hear that stuff, but no one knows if they're getting a second team yet.
"As a game we should always be looking at how we can expand and if it's possible. If we want to call ourselves a National Rugby League, then we want to be a national game.
"It can only be good for the game but they've got to do it right, in the right area. That's above my head."
Given his talent, success and competitive nature, it is a travesty Keary is yet to have played State of Origin.
Much of that has to do with the feisty five-eighth being embroiled in an eligibility saga for the early part of his NRL career.
While Keary always saw himself as a Queenslander, coming through the junior ranks in NSW qualified him for the Blues.
An untimely concussion on the eve of Origin I selection last year robbed Keary of his first Blues jumper and his motivations remain the same in 2020.
"I got knocked out the day before the team was picked," Keary said.
"Everything happens for a reason. You get on with it. If it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be.
"I've never been driven by representative honours. I'm driven to win. If things come off the back of it, then they do.
"I don't set individual goals and things like that. I just want to be in a good team that wins. I don't strive towards being a representative player.
"It's (eligibility) happened a long time ago for me now. I have a really good relationship with all the boys in the NSW Origin camp and coaching staff.
"They've taken me in and I've been to a couple of camps now.
"We've got a really good crew with Teddy (James Tedesco), the Turbos (Tom and Jake Trbojevic), Cooky (Damien Cook) and blokes like that. I've really enjoyed my time with NSW."
The Broncos will be on a high-alert for Keary at Suncorp tonight after he orchestrated two tries in last week's Rabbitohs defeat.
"He is a super footy player," Broncos coach Anthony Seibold said.
"He's made an enormous impact on the Roosters. In his three years there they've made a preliminary final and won the premiership the next two years.
"He really threatens carrying the footy. When they get a quick play-the-ball and build momentum, particularly with a back-to-back set, he challenges the defence with his tempo.
"We've got to be really good on Luke. He can skip across defenders pretty well."
After a slow start to the season, the Roosters bounced back with a dominant win against South Sydney last Friday and will be looking to capitalise against a depleted Broncos outfit tonight.
Keary said the Roosters had benefited from the two-month suspension of the season and had reloaded in their quest for a three-peat of NRL titles.
"As bad as the situation was, it came at a perfect time for us in a way," he said.
"We had a massive 24 months. A few of us said that we had a chance to reflect on what we had achieved.
"We hadn't really sat down and had time to ourselves. It was a chance to reflect on what we did and what we want to do moving forward."
Originally published as The one lure that could bring Keary home to Queensland