Injured Newcastle prop David Klemmer won't be there for Origin ll on Sunday week in Perth but reckons Blues coach Brad Fittler only has to look as far as the other side of the Knights scrum for a ready-made replacement.
Klemmer has tossed his towering frontrow partner Daniel Saifiti into the NSW selection mix, claiming he is mentally tough enough and ready to handle the step up to Origin footy and would be surprised if he is not under serious consideration to make his debut in Perth.
And if Saifiti does get a shock Blues jersey, he may well have his Knights skipper Mitchell Pearce alongside him with speculation growing the experienced playmaker is on the verge of being recalled to the Origin arena following the Blues' defeat in the series opener.
Pearce was giving little away when contacted by the Newcastle Herald on Wednesday but it's understood he is right in the selection mix and could even be favourite for the halfback job following a conversation with Knights legend and Blues coaching assistant Andrew Johns earlier this week.
The suggestion is Pearce would have been chosen for Origin l ahead of Penrith's Nathan Cleary had it not been for a slight groin strain after he was sounded out in the dressingroom by Fittler after the Knights' win over the Sydney Roosters in Newcastle almost three weeks ago.
Now, there is talk Cleary and five-eighth Cody Walker may both be dumped for Origin ll in favour of Pearce and James Maloney or Pearce could team up with Cleary in the halves for the must-win clash. For his part, Klemmer believes Pearce deserves to get the nod.
"Mitchell is an outstanding footballer and six weeks ago, he wasn't even close to a Dally M point and now he is leading the charge up the top there and so he should be," he said.
"He's a great footy player, a great role model for our club and a great captain. Mate, I'd be that stoked for him [if he's picked] because he deserves to be there. He should have been picked [for game one] but obviously, he had a niggle and didn't get to play.
"If he's in contention, I hope he gets picked because he's been playing some outstanding football."
Klemmer is just as adamant Saifiti should be in Blues' frontrow contention alongside the likes of Matt Lodge, Regan Campbell-Gillard and Dale Finucane.
"I'm surprised he hasn't been talked about for Origin and to be in that mix because what he has done defensively and the way he has changed his game, he's been awesome and he is going to be great for us the next couple of years," Klemmer said.
Asked if he believes Saifiti is at the point in his career where he would handle the pressure of Origin, Klemmer said: "Definitely, he is mentally tough and is a strong player and if you go through the past six weeks as a starting player, he's a big reason why we have got off to a good start.
"He wouldn't look out of place in an Origin jersey. He's only 22 or 23 years old but I reckon he is ready and he wouldn't look out of place."
Pearce and Saifiti will get a final chance to push their Origin claims when the Knights clash with the Storm in Melbourne on Saturday.
Fresh from finishing a clear points winner over the Burgess brothers in the Knights' win over South Sydney last weekend, Saifiti will face an even greater challenge up against Kiwi Test prop Jesse Bromwich, giant Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Finucane at AAMI Park. Another points decision in a winning Knights side may well be enough to catapult the Fijian Test frontrower into the Origin cauldron. Fittler is certain to be paying close attention.
Klemmer says the Knights face another huge test of character in the southern capital.
"They are a great club and they have some great players there," he said. "The boys played pretty well on Friday [against Souths] but as I keep saying, we can't hang our hats on that. They are good footy sides and we have to keep backing those performances up.
"Going down there is going to be a good test for us to see where we are at and I'm excited - I'm excited to watch the club go and the boys go.
"They really lifted on Friday but we have to go to another level against Melbourne, especially down there."
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Meanwhile, Klemmer confirmed he is confident of being fit for Origin lll and says he will be back on the field as soon as he gets the all clear after fracturing his wrist in the opening game of the Origin series in Brisbane.
The Knights forwards' leader says he was as surprised as anyone about his injury, which wasn't picked up on Origin night.
"When I got to Parramatta and back into Knights camp [the day after Origin], it was starting to get pretty sore," he said.
"I tried to do some push-ups and it was no good and I just said to the physio, it think we've got to get it scanned, it's pretty sore and it's aching still.
"I was a bit surprised. We weren't going to get the scan, we were just going to needle it for the next day and lucky that we didn't because we could have done some [more] damage."
Initially, there were suggestions Klemmer would require surgery as the scans showed up some previous ligament damage but it was decided to splint the injury and allow it to heal itself.
"It's lucky we didn't get the surgery and we didn't go down that avenue and I'll be back playing footy pretty soon," he said.