NSW assistant coach Brad Fittler says standby Blues forward Boyd Cordner could be a State of Origin great and won't let NSW down if he is called on to replace Greg Bird in game three.
Cordner trained with the Blues on Monday as incumbent forward Bird watched on while wearing a moon boot on his foot. Scans later showed no bone bruising on Bird's injured ankle, raising hopes the Gold Coast Titans star will be fit to take on the Maroons in the series decider.
Even if he is forced to withdraw, Fittler is confident the man waiting in the wings to replace him will do a fine job for NSW at ANZ Stadium.
"[Cordner's] a fine player. He just wouldn't let you down," Fittler told the SportsFan Clubhouse.
"He could be one of the great Origin players. Just the way he plays - he reminds me a lot of 'Fitzy' [former NSW forward Craig Fitzgibbon].
"Everything he does is tough. Hits the line hard, puts his body on the line constantly. Once he gets a chance he won't ever go backwards."
Doubts remain over the availability of NSW skipper Paul Gallen, who is battling a race against time to overcome a foot injury, but Fittler says his "gut feeling" is the Cronulla and Blues star will take the field against the Maroons.