NSW may have shown Queensland the loophole which could save Maroons hopeful Jarrod Wallace’s dreams of a State of Origin debut.
Wallace was expected to come into coach Kevin Walters’ revamped Queensland side in the place of injured prop Nate Myles following their game-one drubbing.
But the Gold Coast front-rower is facing a one-to-two week ban after being cited on Sunday by the NRL match review committee for a shoulder charge on Warriors centre Blake Ayshford.
If suspended it would seemingly rob him of the chance to make a Maroons debut in the must-win game two.
However the Blues may have already provided a blueprint which would allow him to play with their actions two years ago.
In 2015, the Blues found a way around the rules when Michael Ennis was cleared to play in game three despite being suspended for a high tackle.
The Blues named Robbie Farah at hooker despite never being any chance of playing due to a broken hand.
That meant Ennis was allowed to serve his ban in the NRL round before Origin III and then joined the Blues side when Farah was officially ruled out.
According to NRL rules if a player is named for State of Origin, they cannot serve a ban in the preceding NRL round.
The Maroons could elect to name Myles, despite still battling a elbow injury, allowing Wallace to serve his suspension in the Titans’ clash with South Sydney on Friday night.
They could then subsequently rule out Myles, allowing Wallace to be drafted in as a replacement.
Such a move would revive memories of the ‘TBA’ debacle of 2002 in which the Maroons declined to name a full squad, allowing Brisbane winger Lote Tuquiri to serve a club suspension, before bringing him in.
The QRL and NSWRL subsequently entered into a gentlemen’s agreement not to use the TBA loophole ever again.
Wallace has until midday on Monday to enter a plea and Titans CEO Graham Annesley said the club did not know if they would challenge the charge at the NRL judiciary.
“We’ll assess our options after we have a bit of a better chance to look at it tomorrow,” Annesley said.
After the match Wallace argued he did not have a case to answer.
“He jumped and I braced myself and I didn’t think too much of it,” Wallace said.
“I remember bracing and stopping my run, to pull out of the tackle. What more can I do?”
Should Wallace be rubbed out, Brisbane’s Korbin Sims would come into contention for Queensland.
Meanwhile North Queensland giant Coen Hess is expected to receive a Maroons call up after a blockbusting effort in the Cowboys’ win over Parramatta on Saturday.
Forwards Myles, Aidan Guerra and Jacob Lillyman are all on the chopping block.
North Queensland’s Gavin Cooper and Melbourne’s Patrick Kaufusi are in the frame for bench call ups.
Thurston rubber stamped his return after delivering a masterclass against the Eels in his first match in five weeks due to a shoulder injury.
Billy Slater is expected to be recalled meaning Test custodian Darius Boyd is likely to move to the wing and Justin O’Neill is facing the axe.
Predicted Queensland side: Billy Slater, Corey Oates, Will Chambers, Dane Gagai, Darius Boyd, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Dylan Napa, Cameron Smith, Josh Papalii, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire. Interchange: Michael Morgan, Jarrod Wallace, Coen Hess, Gavin Cooper.