NSW officials have demonstrated their confidence in captain Boyd Cordner overcoming a calf injury to lead the Blues in Origin III by releasing Ryan James to play for Gold Coast in Sunday's NRL derby against Brisbane.
Cordner plans to confirm his fitness by completing a full training session with the NSW team on Sunday but he has done enough to convince the Blues coaching staff that he will take his place in the second row in the Holden State of Origin series finale.
"It's fine, everything's going to plan, I'm very happy with it," Cordner said on Friday. "I am going to train on Sunday full with the team, but I think I am sweet."
The Blues skipper underwent a series of running drills under the watchful eye of NSW performance staff at Coogee Oval on Friday before joining tackling and wrestling drills.
He sat out some of the ball work components of the session but Blues officials said the Sydney Roosters star had done more than they anticipated and insist he will play, despite tearing his calf in the first half of Origin II.
Cleary responds to Broncos rumours
NRL.com was told that Cordner wasn't required to do any training until Sunday but had wanted to take part in the session.
"I have to listen to the medical staff, they've got a plan in place for me and everything's going well for me. I'm ticking every box," Cordner said.
"It's been feeling fine all week, I've been itching to get out there and train with the boys. I wanted to do more today but I've just got to trust the medical staff."
- Peachey continues 'no phones policy' away from Blues camp
- Trbojevic and the Blues out to spoil Slater's party
James has been named as 18th man and was the player expected to come into the squad if Cordner was ruled out but he will now play for the Titans in the fixture at Cbus Super Stadium.
Should Cordner pull up sore on Saturday, NSW coach Brad Fittler has the option of asking for James to sit out of the match against the Broncos but he is not scheduled to rejoin the Blues camp until they arrive in Brisbane on Monday.
Cronulla prop Matt Prior, who played in Origin II but has lost his place in the team to St George Illawarra second-rower Tariq Sims because of the concerns over Cordner, remains with the NSW squad.
Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary is also in the 20-man NSW squad but will not play unless halfback Nathan Cleary or five-eighth James Maloney are injured at training.
Origin at Suncorp, there's nothing like it! Game III tickets available here