Preparations for New South Wales to end the eight-year dominance of Queensland have been thrown into further turmoil with hooker Robbie Farah to race the clock to be fit for State of Origin I on May 28.
Farah dislocated his elbow in the 78th minute of the Wests Tigers' gritty 16-4 win over North Queensland on Saturday night. Scans this morning confirmed there were no broken bones but the club said he faced a layoff of as long as six weeks, making his availability for coach Laurie Daley's Game One team highly unlikely.
"Scans last night revealed no fracture to the arm, however Farah is set to miss approximately six weeks with the injury," the Tigers said in a statement on the club's website.
"Farah suffered the dislocation in the 78th minute of last night’s game, with the elbow relocated by Wests Tigers medical staff on field."
Farah posted on Twitter today: "Thanks for all msgs. Unfortunately I'll miss 5-6 weeks but could of been a lot worse. Proud of the effort from the boys last night. Tough win."
While Queensland have no major injury concerns following both Justin Hodges and Josh Papalii making successful comebacks over the past two weeks, the Blues now have both their captain in Paul Gallen and vice-captain in Farah sidelined five weeks before the team for Game One is due to be announced.
The loss of Farah would provide Daley with a sizeable headache as he would be forced to weigh up going back to either of the experienced duo in Kurt Gidley or Michael Ennis or look to introduce some new blood in either the Dragons' Mitch Rein or Parramatta's Nathan Peats who have both been integral in their sides' early-season resurgences.
Two other more experienced candidates with Country Origin experience are Melbourne's Ryan Hinchcliffe and Josh McCrone at the Raiders, although neither are the starting hookers at their respective clubs.