Manly premiership hooker Matt Ballin could be set to step up and make his Origin debut for Queensland.

He’s on standby for injured playmaker Cameron Smith who’s been given until the weekend to prove his fitness for Origin one.

Letisha Willocks reports.

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TRANSCRIPT

With 19 consecutive origins under his belt, Cameron Smith will be hard to replace but Matt Ballin says he doesn’t mind being on standby and is ready.

Matt Ballin, Queensland: “Ah, I’m just preparing like I’m playing then if I’m not there’s no down side so I’m having a great time.”

The Origin opener looks set to be an explosive one with bad blood from game three last year expected to boil over.

With New South Wales coach Craig Bellamy refusing to rule out a return to the traditional Origin dust-up in the opening moments of game one.

The New South Wales camp also looks set to make some changes before next week, the coach giving injured centre Timana Tahu until Friday to overcome his calf strain.

Darren Lockyer, Queensland captain: “Ah yeah I guess if Tahu doesn’t make it ah they’ve got a few options up their sleeves.”

Bulldog Jamal Idris is likely to be rushed into the Blues starting side if Tahu fails to come up.

Craig Bellamy, NSW Coach: “He’s been playing great footy and getting better and better each week so hopefully you know, ah, you know, he’ll be set for that stage on Wednesday night.”

The maroons will remain in camp at Coolum until Monday.

Letisha Willocks, QUT News