New South Wales coach Laurie Daley has called Melbourne's Ryan Hinchcliffe and Bulldog Josh Reynolds into his Origin III squad as cover for surgery-bound hooker Robbie Farah, while Michael Ennis is still a chance of a call-up.
On the weekend Farah broke the fourth metacarpal in his right hand – the opposite limb to his dodgy shoulder – and Daley said surgery would give the hooker the best chance of playing next Wednesday night at Suncorp Stadium.
With Ennis challenging his one-week suspension for his careless tackle on Matt Scott last weekend, Daley said he was aware of the loophole which would allow the Sharks hooker to play his eighth Origin once the suspension was complete after Cronulla's game against the Sea Eagles on Sunday.
"I haven't really had time to chase it up. I am aware of it, but I think at this stage, Michael is fighting the charge. So he's better off to be down here doing that and trying to get off," Daley said.
"We'll just sit back and see what happens over the next 48 hours to three days. I'm sure there'll be a lot of speculation. But these 17 guys will head to Coffs and we'll see how it all pans out over the next few days.
"I spoke to Michael on Monday, when I was concerned with Robbie. I can't really say much about the case but he wants to fight and is keen to fight it. So he'll do his best."
Admitting he had thought Farah had no chance of recovering from his shoulder injury before Origin II, Daley wasn't content putting all his eggs into one basket this time around.
"Robbie's a guy that is very tough and recuperates quite well so we'll see what happens. He's a determined bloke," he said.
"Obviously Robbie would like to play but you've got to weigh up recovery, training, the likelihood of injuring it again – all those things. It'll just be a wait and see."
Farah himself said he hoped to be in camp in the next 24-48 hours post-surgery on Tuesday night.
"[Surgery will make it] a lot stronger and the recovery would be pretty quick because it's stabilised by a plate or pin or whatever he decides to put in there. The one thing I will have to manage is the pain obviously after surgery, but the strength in it is more important than the pain," Farah said.
More concerned about the welfare of the team, Farah said the decision of whether he pulls the pin on playing or not lies in Daley's hands.
"I'd love to give myself up until kickoff on Wednesday night. But Loz needs to make a decision that's best for the team. Whatever he decides I'll be comfortable with because we'll make a decision that's in the best interests of this footy side," Farah said.
"I'm confident I can get out there and play with or without the surgery but it's about the preparation of the team. Surgery gives me a chance to train. I think without it, I would've had to needle up for training as is. That wouldn't have been the best scenario.
"I am concerned about, not just about myself, but the preparation for this team for such a big game. It's a bit more complex than just getting right for Wednesday night. They're the things Loz, Gal and I will discuss."
Meanwhile, Hinchcliffe and Reynolds will be joined by Knights duo Sione Mata'utia and Tariq Sims in the squad heading to Coffs Harbour.
Video courtesy of nswrl.com.au