Cameron Murray says Souths teammate Campbell Graham is "made for Origin" and the centre's NSW stocks will rise if he can outpoint Penrith's Stephen Crichton on Saturday night.
After Blues advisor Greg Alexander told News Corp that both Graham and Crichton are in contention for the state's 27-man squad, the South Sydney speedster can prove his worth in a preliminary final.
Graham's composure was on display when asked if the potential carrot of an Origin berth is motivating him as he prepares to face Crichton at ANZ Stadium.
"Not really so much for the Origin spot. It just excites me going head-to-head with him anyway," Graham said on Tuesday.
Match: Panthers v Rabbitohs
Finals Week 3 -
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney
"He's a talented young kid and he's showed everyone what he's capable of. It's always good as an athlete to test yourselves against all the best centres or all the opposition people in your spot.
"I'm just looking forward to the challenge in general and I'm looking forward to the battle."
Soward and Chammas pick their NSW Origin team
Graham was eligible to play for England through his English mother and at one point South Sydney's Burgess brothers attempted to sway him towards representing that side of his heritage.
Luckily for the Blues and Australia, those talks never eventuated into anything serious and Graham wore green and gold at the 2019 World Cup 9s tournament.
Murray, who played in last year's series as the Blues retained the shield, said Graham wouldn't let anyone down if picked.
Then there were four …
"I think he'd be a great [Origin] player. Campbell's really taken his whole game to another level this year," the Test lock said.
"He's very reliable there in the centres. You can always rely on him to do the tough carries, be there when you need him and rely on him to finish off tries and just be a competitor across the park.
"I think he's that type of player that's made for Origin. I think he'd stand out on that stage if it comes."
After debuting last season, Crichton has exploded in 2020 with 16 tries in 20 games to help the Panthers to the minor premiership.
Graham was introduced to the 20-year-old a few years back when the pair played "in a junior rep team in the CCCs [Combined Catholic Colleges] coming through the schoolboys ranks".
"He was a very good player back then and in the couple of years since then he's progressed massively," Graham said.
"He's got a lot of skill, he's got footwork, speed and he's obviously good under the high ball ... I'll do my best to keep him quiet."
Rabbitohs prop Tevita Tatola has also previously been on the same side as some of this weekend's opponents, playing with Nathan Cleary, Dylan Edwards and Tyrone May for the Junior Kangaroos in 2016.
"It was obviously a great week when we played in the Junior Kangaroos together. The whole group was pretty much close," Tatola said.
"We obviously had a good week there and we came away with the win that weekend.
"Coming through the ranks they've always been pretty special. I've played a lot against them, they played for Penrith during the junior footy times and I came up against those guys quite a bit [when I was at Wests Tigers].
"I always knew that they had heaps of talent. I knew they could make first-grade. Just seeing them shine this year as a team is obviously great."