Late NSW call-up Tyson Frizell will be rushed from the plane onto the training paddock when he arrives in Coffs Harbour to begin preparations for State of Origin II on Wednesday week.
The St George Illawarra hole-runner got the nod late on Wednesday night after rookie Wade Graham failed to overturn a controversial grade one careless high tackle charge at the NRL judiciary.
Frizell will board a red-eye flight with Graham in Sydney on Thursday and frantically join his teammates for a field session early in the day.
Debutant Frizell, 24, has just five sessions at most to prepare himself for the biggest game of his six-year NRL career, but Blues coach Laurie Daley is confident the transition will be smooth.
“He’s a guy that has been in our system for the last two seasons, so he’s been 18th man three or four times,” Daley said.
“It’ll still be OK because we’ll have a session (on Thursday). He’s missed a session (on Wednesday), but that was only really light and the main session will be (on Thursday), so he’ll come in for that.
“He’s been here a number of times and he knows the guys so I don’t think it will affect us too much.”
Daley said he would decide over the next few days whether to thrust Frizell straight into the starting line-up or opt for the experience of Greg Bird for the awaiting cauldron in Brisbane.
Bird played all of his minutes in Origin I as a middle forward.
“(There is a) possibility of shifting Birdy, but we’ll decide that in the next couple of days,” Daley said.
The coach also admitted he considered bringing Penrith star Bryce Cartwright into the 17 after spending the first two days in camp as a development player.
“We obviously considered Bryce, but at this point Tyson was the man that we wanted to go with because he’s been with us for two years as 18th man and he deserves a crack,” he said.
“That’s the idea of getting guys like (Jack Bird) and Bryce into the squad now – to give them a bit of a taste of what it’s like, so when their opportunity comes, they’re not shocked and overawed.”
The Blues have to win Origin II to force a series decider back in Sydney.