Robbie Farah’s chances of playing in State of Origin III are fading fast after he failed to train fully with the NSW side on Sunday.
Farah has surprised Blues support staff with his rapid recovery from hand surgery on Tuesday, but it appears the NSW No.9 will fail in his race against the clock to be fit for Wednesday’s Origin decider.
At the beginning of Sunday morning’s key contact session at the Blues’ Coffs Harbour base, Farah went through a number of passing drills in fine weather with Blues coach Laurie Daley and appeared unaffected by the injury.
But when the Wests Tigers skipper was required to do push-ups as part of a team bonding session he declined, in a sure sign the fractured fourth metacarpal on his right hand remains a problem.
Back-up Blues rake Michael Ennis filled in at dummy half for Farah during the contact part of the session – an indication of what will likely happen at Suncorp Stadium.
A final decision on Farah’s fitness from the Blues is unlikely to come before Tuesday.
And after his incredible recovery from a shoulder injury to play in NSW’s win in game two at the MCG, centre Josh Morris said the Blues aren’t ready to give up on Farah yet.
“Robbie is a tough customer and a really good healer,” Morris said.
“I thought he would have been no chance to play in game two, but he turned up and played and we are certainly giving him every chance to play on Wednesday night.”
The Blues looked slick in their second contact session of the camp, including an opposed session against a team composed of players from local side the Coffs Harbour Comets and squad players including James Roberts, Joey Lussick, Will Smith and Sione Mata’utia.
NSW boarded a charter flight to Brisbane on Sunday afternoon. They have a day off on Monday ahead of their final training session before Origin III, the captain’s run at Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday.
Back-rower Trent Merrin said Alex McKinnon’s surprise visit to Blues’ training on Saturday was giving the side extra incentive ahead of the decider.
“It was special, it is always great to have Alex in your presence,” Merrin said.
“He called me before and said he was in the area and I told him it would be great for him to come down and see the boys.
“It put things in perspective, how lucky we are to play the game we love and how we should just cherish it all.
“For him to be there it was awesome for the boys and it put a smile on their faces.
“He was in camp for us last year and we won the series, hopefully we can do it again.”
South Sydney’s Alex Johnson and Newcastle’s Tariq Sims are the Blues emergency reserves for game three.