Queensland suspect State of Origin subterfuge, but NSW coach Laurie Daley insists injured hooker Robbie Farah could still play in Wednesday’s series decider with a final decision on his fitness unlikely until an hour before kick-off at Suncorp Stadium.
Daley said on Monday that Farah remained a chance of playing as his recovery from hand surgery last week continues. But Queensland veteran Corey Parker indicated the Maroons are preparing as if back-up Blues rake Michael Ennis will play.
Farah has only been involved in a limited capacity at Blues training, however Daley said he is pleased with Farah’s progress.
“He probably did more than what we thought he would do (yesterday),” Daley said.
“I won’t write him off, he is a bloke who is passionate about playing for NSW, we will give him every chance and see what happens.
“Hopefully he will get through tomorrow’s session under some more intense work.
(But) we won’t definitely make a decision tomorrow.
“For us it is about giving Robbie the best chance to play, he is a big part of our team.”
After their two major pre-Origin III hitouts on Saturday and Sunday at their Coffs Harbour base, the Blues flew to Brisbane on Sunday afternoon. They had a day off on Monday, ahead of their final training session in the captain’s run at Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday.
However Farah’s availability might not be confirmed until an hour before kick-off, when the teams are named.
The NSW judiciary loophole that has opened up Ennis’ availability, after his one-match suspension, closes at the conclusion of the final round 17 match between Parramatta and Wests Tigers on Monday night.
Daley said the issue of Farah’s fitness hadn’t been a distraction in the lead-up to game three.
“Robbie is the type of guy who puts the team before himself,” Daley said.
“He is very committed to NSW, he has been a big part of our team, if he does play, we know he will play well for us on a limited preparation.”
But Queensland expect to front up against Ennis.
“It’s funny how football works sometimes, you keep plodding along and hoping at some stage you get another opportunity – this is his,” Parker said.
“If he’s playing that’s great for him.
“He’s been in that arena before. He’s tough. He fits the mould quite well.
“He’s one of those guys you hate to play against.”
Captain Paul Gallen is also an injury concern for the Blues as he battles a rib complaint sustained in Origin II.
Daley said Gallen also picked up an undisclosed injury in training on Sunday, but said the Cronulla skipper wasn’t in doubt for the decider.
HEAD-TO-HEAD ORIGIN STATISTIC SINCE THE SERIES BEGAN IN 1980, AHEAD OF WEDNESDAY’S 2015 DECIDER
Series Wins (since three-games series began in 1982): Played 33, QLD 18, NSW 13, Drawn 2
All Origin Matches (1980-2014) – Played 104; QLD 55, NSW 47, Drawn 2
At Suncorp Stadium/Lang Park: Played 50; QLD 31, NSW 18, Drawn 1
Total Points Scored – QLD 1710 points (296 tries, 264 goals and 11 fg), NSW 1612 points (274 tries, 257 goals and 13 fg)
*Statistics courtesy of Fox Sports Stats