Michael Maguire says injured Wests Tigers captain Moses Mbye will "without a doubt" be fit for an expected Queensland Origin call-up as rival interest grows in his temporary fullback replacement Corey Thompson.
Mbye sat out the Tigers 32-16 loss to South Sydney on Saturday night with a "slight groin strain", according to Maguire, picked up in Friday’s captain’s run.
NRL.com understands that Mbye has been contacted by Queensland officials to gauge his fitness for Origin I, and remains a front runner for the Maroons bench utility role as he can cover most all backline positions and dummy-half duties at a pinch.
Maguire said Mbye thoroughly deserved an expected Origin debut and would not be under an injury cloud if picked on Monday.
"He just had a slight strain to his groin, it's only a subtle one," Maguire said after the loss to the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium.
"If we were playing in four or five days he might have been Okay but to turn around in 24 hours, he just wasn't ready."
Asked if Mbye would be fit for the June 5 Origin opener at Suncorp Stadium Maguire responded: "Definitely, without a doubt."
Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Wests Tigers
"I always push my players to play Origin. I think it's a great opportunity to step into a higher arena and they always come back a better player.
"They come back a different player because of the level you need to lift. It'd be great for Moses being there."
Thompson, meanwhile, was a standout for the Tigers on Saturday, running for 187 metres at fullback and scoring his team's first try.
The 29-year-old is off-contract and very much a part of Maguire's plans as he reshapes the club's roster in his first season at Concord.
But with Thompson's future yet to finalised beyond this season, NRL.com understands that two rival clubs have recently signalled their interest with his management.
Maguire lauded Thompson's performance in a losing side but is still likely to shift him from No.1 back to the wing when Mbye returns for the Tigers next clash, a round 13 showdown with Canberra after the bye.
"He was good tonight," Maguire said of Thompson.
"He competes. You could see him towards the back end of the game, he was just a real competitor.
"That's how we can roll the team, potentially, if need be. But I'll go through the video first and see where we're going.
"Moses has been doing some good things out the back there for us and a lot of people don't actually understand the fullback position as a defender.
"They are corralling and telling players where to go. Moses has got a great ability of doing that and I thought his attack over the last couple of weeks is starting to rise.
"I'll have a look and assess which way they're going to go."