Storm hooker Harry Grant says he could have played this weekend if Melbourne played later in the round and is in no doubt of being available for Origin.
While stressing his first priority is to get fit for Storm duty, Grant told NRL.com he'd love to get another chance in Maroon if named on Monday for the June 9 Ampol State of Origin series opener.
"If it was a Saturday or Sunday game I probably would have been sweet to go but just given the fact it's early in the weekend I've had to give it a miss," said Grant who sat out Melbourne's Thursday night win over Brisbane.
"That's sort of the way the physios wanted to go with just hopefully have a few extra sessions under my belt before getting into a full-on match.
"To be back where I'm at now in full training at two weeks, it's positive signs."
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Maroons duo Christian Welch and Cameron Munster also missed Thursday's game fitness with reports on the five-eighth ranging from he has resumed running to "porkie pies" about needing season-ending surgery.
Welch was rested due to Melbourne's short turnaround so he could rest a knock he copped to his knee a month ago but mystery still surrounds Munster’s availability to recover from a Lisfranc foot injury.
He told Brandon Smith a few weeks ago he thought his season could be over while Welch said Munster had begun running in perhaps the best indication the reigning Wally Lewis Medallist would be fit for Queensland.
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"He has been doing some running but it’s a really difficult injury that one on the foot, it can really turn pretty bad so they’re being ultra-safe with it because it’s such a long year ahead," Welch said.
"I think he is still a chance but not sure to be honest."
Smith said Munster was hopeful of being back but said it was hard to get a true gauge on the "drama queen".
"I think Queensland are in good stead. Hopefully Munster is back but I don’t know. He loves to be a drama queen, he told me he was out for the season a couple of weeks ago," Smith said.
"He said I’ve got to get surgery so I’m out for the season, but I was like ‘nah you’ve had too much to drink’. I have no idea with Munster, he tells porkie pies that kid.
"I don’t know if he is playing or not but if he is right for the Titans game [in round 13] I’m sure he'd be right for Origin."
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Grant said there was no question about the hamstring preventing him facing NSW.
"I'd love to be picked and play for Queensland again. I'm not too sure which way they're going to go with the squad but I haven't had any conversations so I'll just sit tight and see what happens.
"I'm doing everything I can to be fit and ready for that game and I'm sure I'm going to be right so it would be good to get picked."
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Grant said starting and playing big minutes would not be a problem given he went into his Origin debut last year off the back of no football for an extended period, called up for game three two months after his grand final win with Melbourne.
"I've only missed a couple of weeks and I can take a lot of confidence out of last year's game," he said.
"I think I had about eight weeks with no games before that so I think I can take a lot of confidence out of last year if I'm lucky enough to get picked."
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Whether or not Grant is picked for the series opener, he is hopeful of being on the field for Origin II where a current promotion from DoorDash is giving fans the opportunity to deliver the game ball for the match.
"DoorDash is offering NRL fans a pretty rare opportunity to be on the field in State of Origin game two and deliver the game ball and I'm really excited to be a part of it," Grant said.
"You get a chance to win the prize by placing an order through DoorDash. Every order goes in the draw to win some pretty cool prizes."
Grant also praised the efforts of his clubmates – including dummy-half understudy Aaron Booth – to keep the wins ticking over while himself, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Cameron Munster, Jahrome Hughes and others have been unavailable.
"They have been in the system for a few years and it's good to see them get some quality game time and make the most of that game time and really play well," he said.
"We're good mates, me and Boothy. We all kind of bounce ideas off each other and try and learn from each other with myself, Brandon, Boothy and Tyson Smoothy.
"Hopefully he gets some more games – well, not in my spot – but hopefully he gets a fair few more games down the track."
Smith believes the addition of Grant would be an enormous boost for the Maroons.
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"The thing about Harry is he elevates people around him which is something I want to try to get better at because I’m more of a one-trick pony myself," Smith said.
With Josh Papalii suspended, the Maroons will look to the premiership-winning experience of Welch to lead the pack against a NSW side that will likely be without Brisbane’s Payne Haas after he suffered a medial knee ligament injury in the 40-12 loss to Melbourne.
"Papa has been the Maroons' leader for a few years now and probably a leader for Australia too," Welch said.
"It’s a real privilege to be part of Queensland camps and play in the Maroon jersey. It’s a new taste this year with Paul Green and [assistant coach] Johnathan Thurston and a few others there so it will be fascinating to be part of it if I get picked."