With Glenn Stewart ruled out of the upcoming Origin decider, NSW coach Ricky Stuart should take a gamble on his injured Manly teammate Tony Williams.
The giant back-rower resumed running last week but was not named by Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey to make his return this weekend from a back injury sustained in Origin I.
However, even if Williams does not play against Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Sunday, the 23-year-old strike forward remains the best option that Stuart has to replace Stewart.
Williams was outstanding in his brief appearance off the bench in Origin I - his first match since being suspended for a dangerous throw in Manly's round-three loss to Cronulla.
Despite having not played for almost 10 weeks due to his seven-match ban, a bye and being stood down from club duties the weekend before the Origin series opener at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium, Williams had a huge impact off the bench.
Thrown into action early in the second half, the Test forward made 10 tackle breaks during his 23-minute stint - the most by any player in the NSW or Queensland teams.
In his only other three matches this season, Williams managed 25 tackle breaks, four line breaks and eight offloads before his third judiciary charge in seven matches for Manly and Australia.
No other player in the NRL possesses the same ability with the ball and menace without it, and the player who comes closest - North Queensland's Tariq Sims - is out of action due to a broken leg.
It is the reason Stuart was prepared to risk choosing Williams in Origin I, and why he should do so again if Williams is fit.
Another 20-minute stint from Williams in the July 4 decider at Suncorp Stadium might be all that is needed to swing the game and the series NSW's way for the first time since 2005.
Stewart had a second scan on Tuesday that is believed to have shown the knee injury he sustained in Monday night's loss to Melbourne isn't as severe as first feared but still enough to rule him out. To cover for him, Stuart could start Luke Lewis in the second row as he did in Origin I.
Lewis, who moved to the bench in Origin II to enable captain Paul Gallen to shift from prop to lock, is capable of playing more game time if necessary than the 56 and 58 minutes he had in the opening two matches.
Sea Eagles forward Anthony Watmough is another who can play longer than the 26 minutes he had off the bench in the 16-12 defeat of Queensland last week, while St George Illawarra pair Ben Creagh and Trent Merrin played only 28 and 21 minutes respectively.
Merrin played longer (38 minutes) in Origin I, while Creagh had 24 minutes of action, and utility Jamie Buhrer, who was not required for Origin II, got just seven minutes in his Origin debut.
Stuart has said he wants Williams to play for Manly on Sunday before picking him but Toovey, who must be frustrated that he has had the Canterbury-bound back-rower's services for only three matches this season, told the Herald it was too risky to rush him back.
What if Stuart overlooks Williams because he doesn't play this weekend, and he makes a stunning return in the Sea Eagles' next match only a few days after the Origin series is decided?
- Sydney Morning Herald