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After breaking his wrist in the opening minutes of Origin I, in which he played the next 50 minutes unaware of the fracture, David Klemmer was told he would need to undergo surgery.

But in the hope of returning for NSW in game three, Klemmer opted against it.

He was so desperate to play in Origin II that he even spoke to the Newcastle medical staff about the prospect of using pain-killing injections to get through.

At that point, it hurt to catch the ball so he was no chance.

But after another colossal performance for Newcastle against the Broncos on Saturday night, Klemmer's decision to delay surgery until the end of the year appeared as though it would be validated.

So most assumed.

Now he finds himself on the brink of being overlooked by Blues coach Brad Fittler.

This is not like Latrell Mitchell's controversial omission for game two. There were no questions asked of Klemmer's performance in game one. In fact, he was the best forward on the field and it was only when he went off the Suncorp Stadium arena, did NSW begin to lose their way.

When the Blues name their team for game three on Monday night, Fittler is expected to stick with the same 17 that comprehensively beat Queensland in Perth.

NSW prop Daniel Saifiti.
NSW prop Daniel Saifiti. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

Queensland were awful in game two, but there's little doubt they will improve with the series on the line in Sydney next Wednesday.

NSW will need to go to another level, yet the services of Klemmer aren't required?

When picking his team for game two, Fittler spoke about the selection of Tom Trbojevic.

He said he was a player that he just had to get back in the side. Josh Morris didn't do much wrong in game one, but few could argue with Fittler bringing Trbojevic straight back in when he recovered from his hamstring injury.

Most assumed Klemmer would fall into that category. The best prop in the country. The best forward on the field in game one.

Yet Fittler is now expected to remain loyal to the team that did the job at Optus Stadium in game two.

That same loyalty hasn't been afforded to Klemmer who, before breaking his wrist in game one, had played in 13 consecutive games for the Blues since debuting in 2015.

Daniel Saifiti was impressive in Klemmer's absence, but perhaps you could argue Fittler's loyalty is somewhat misplaced.

Klemmer has also been the first prop picked in Mal Meninga's Australian team during the past few years, however his selection for NSW under the Fittler regime hasn't always been guaranteed.

As reported by last year, Klemmer was set to be overlooked for game one in 2018 in favour of Titans forward Ryan James. 

James had even been sent his flight itinerary by the NSWRL, only for Klemmer to push his case at the 11th hour in a Sunday afternoon game for the Bulldogs against the Tigers to win the spot.

Now Klemmer's hopes of playing in Origin III hinge on Tariq Sims's judiciary hearing on Tuesday night, where he will challenge a late shot on North Queensland's Michael Morgan.

If he gets off, Klemmer misses out. If he fails, you'd imagine Klemmer would be next in line.

Regardless, Fittler has long spoken about the importance of club form when selecting his team.

With that argument in mind, you could argue Sims is fortunate to be in the team altogether, let alone as one of three specialist left edge back-rowers.

Klemmer has averaged almost 180 metres per game for the Knights in 2019, the most of any prop in the NRL and the second among all forwards behind only Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo.

He ran for 150 metres in the opening game of the Origin series.

Coach Brad Fittler.
Coach Brad Fittler. ©NRL Photos

Fittler was criticised for his selections in game two, but he left many – including this columnist – with egg on their face after his side's 38-6 victory.

NSW are favourites to wrap the series up at ANZ Stadium, and should do so with or without Klemmer.

But if Queensland, now without superstar Kalyn Ponga, somehow defy the odds, the non-selection of Klemmer will long haunt the Blues coach.

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.

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