Dylan Walker could be asked to play crucial minutes for NSW at hooker off the interchange bench in State of Origin I, as coach Laurie Daley gambles with his dummy half role.
The selection of Manly utility Walker on the bench has raised the eyebrows of many, but one of his tasks will be to provide cover for Blues No.9 Robbie Farah at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday.
Farah goes into the game having missed Wests Tigers’ last NRL match due to concussion.
He risks going into the Origin series opener underdone, having also missed three matches earlier this year due to a knee injury.
Farah is hoping to play the entire match against Queensland. But Walker, who has played largely as a five-eighth for Manly this season, has been undergoing a crash course in the dummy half role at NSW training at Coffs Harbour to cover for fatigue or injury to Farah.
“I am expecting to play 80, but that is the good thing about having a utility on the bench like Dylan Walker who can come on and play a number of positions with the limited interchange,” Farah said.
“If you do lose a player through injury you need to be able to cover that. That is the thinking there from (Blues coach) Laurie (Daley) having a utility on the bench.”
Farah was confident he had overcome the ill effects of a concussion that resulted in him missing the Tigers’ win over Newcastle last week.
“I have done a little bit of training on Tuesday, a little bit yesterday – when I get through a full week’s training I will have no concerns going into the game,” he said.
“I just have to let the recovery takes its course.”
“I’m certainly no stranger to going into an Origin game under an injury cloud, but I will be right.”