Injured NSW hooker Robbie Farah has put his broken hand to the test in a training drill at the Blues' Coffs Harbour base on Saturday morning, alongside shadow hooker Michael Ennis.
The key opposed session also included development squad members Tariq Sims, Sione Mata'utia, James Roberts and a collection of local club players. Alex McKinnon and his fiancé Tiegan power were surprise visitors at training also, stopping in on their way from the Gold Coast down to Newcastle after a last-minute text message to Blues forward Trent Merrin, who is a close friend of McKinnon's.
McKinnon sat in on the team's video session then watched on as Farah ran with just a light bandage on his right hand, which has not needed a splint or brace since having a plate and a screw inserted on Tuesday night.
Ennis looked to be heavily involved at hooker in attacking drills while Farah seemed to take more of a back seat but was still able to catch, pass and kick freely.
The Blues are likely to make a call publicly on who will fill the No.9 jersey in the Origin decider after the conclusion of the current NRL round on Monday night.
The Saturday and Sunday contact sessions are the two most crucial in the side's lead-up, with just a light captain's run on Tuesday to follow. Although the signs are encouraging for Farah, it would still be a remarkable – if not quite miraculous – feat to take his place in the side given how much a busy defender needs to use his hands to grip and wrestle in every tackle.
UPDATE: NSWRL Media have reported Farah also completed contact work in Saturday’s session and is looking increasingly likely to play.
Earlier, Blues teammates said they were hopeful Farah could get through the important session.
"We're giving Robbie every opportunity to be fit for Wednesday night; obviously everyone wants him out there on Wednesday night," Blues back-rower Beau Scott said before Saturday's training session.
"We'll give him an opportunity today to throw the ball around and see how he goes."
Prop Aaron Woods said Farah had remained positive despite the setbacks.
"He's having a run and a pass today. It's his first training session since the surgery, it's only been four days so we'll just have to see how he pulls up after it," Woods said.
Scott had no doubt Ennis could do the job required if called upon.
"Mick's been here before, he knows what it's all about," Scott said.
"He's a seasoned campaigner in the Origin arena and we don't lose anything. We trained with him the other day and he fitted straight in. He knows all the plays and I'm confident he can do the job."
Video courtesy of nswrl.com.au