NSW hooker Robbie Farah will have his fractured hand assessed by Blues medical staff on Tuesday in a bid to make himself available for the State of Origin decider next week.
According to a Wests Tigers statement, the Tigers skipper saw a specialist on Monday after scans revealed a fracture to the fourth metacarpal of his right hand – one that typically needs four weeks to heal – suffered in the club’s defeat to Penrith on Sunday.
“Farah and New South Wales Coach Laurie Daley have discussed the injury and decided that he will go into camp and be assessed further by Blues medical staff,” the statement read.
Not for the first time this series, Daley will be hoping Farah can brave through the pain barrier, particularly after possible replacement Michael Ennis was slapped with a grade-one careless high-tackle charge by the NRL match review committee on Monday.
His 38 carry-over points from a contrary conduct charge in round two means the former Origin rake would have to beat the charge at the NRL judiciary in order to play.
A third candidate, Parramatta’s Nathan Peats, remains sidelined with a knee injury.
Super League-bound Melbourne utility Ryan Hinchcliffe would almost certainly come into contention, as would dumped Blues five-eighth Josh Reynolds.
In some good news for Daley, second-rower Beau Scott was cleared of any serious damage to his left shoulder after lasting just 14 minutes in Newcastle’s defeat to Brisbane last Friday night.
Centre Michael Jennings is also expected to be named despite his recent arrest for a wild night out in Parramatta that resulted in his arrest, a club-imposed one-game ban and $20,000 fine.
It has no doubt been a turbulent lead-up to Daley naming the team on Tuesday, however, should Farah play and Canterbury’s Origin contingent pull up healthy after Monday night’s encounter with Melbourne, the Blues will head to Brisbane with the same 17 that levelled the series at the MCG.
Prop Aaron Woods told AAP he expected Queensland’s forward pack to look for revenge after getting outplayed by the Blues’ big men in Game II.
“They’re going to be hunting everybody,” he said.
“There’s a lot of talk about our pack being good so they’ve got a bit of a point to prove.
“(But) we’re going to go out hunting as well, don’t you worry about that.”
Likely NSW team for Game III: Josh Dugan, Will Hopoate, Michael Jennings, Josh Morris, Brett Morris, Mitchell Pearce, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah, James Tamou, Beau Scott, Ryan Hoffman, Paul Gallen (c). Interchange: Trent Merrin, Boyd Cordner, David Klemmer, Josh Jackson.