Robbie Farah's battle to retain his NSW State of Origin jumper could come down to his head-to-head clash with arch-rival Cameron Smith in Perth on Sunday.
Smith has been a thorn in Farah's side for years and now the South Sydney No.9 will look to use his showdown with the Melbourne, Queensland and Australian skipper to prove he deserves to retain his Blues jumper.
Going into the Rabbitohs' match with Melbourne, the Rabbitohs dummy-half is holding onto his Blues hooking role by his finger-tips and trying to fend off Penrith veteran Peter Wallace.
Wallace is reportedly set to claim his first State of Origin jumper in seven years with Farah failing to set the world on fire since his highly publicised move from Wests Tigers.
Farah had his best game all season in last week's win over the Tigers - setting up two tries - however NSW coach Laurie Daley is reportedly set to go in another direction.
Prior to last week, Farah had been relegated to the bench and has averaged just 48 minutes this year, a statistic which would be a concern to Daley considering he will likely require his No.9 to play a full match.
Wallace has averaged 79 minutes this year and has been solid in defence, making over 36 tackles per game.
Daley is known to favour defence-orientated sides and with each of the last three Origin series openers being decided by four points or less, it will weigh heavily on the selectors' minds.
The race for the Blues No.9 could all come down to this weekend's NRL fixtures, the last before Daley announces his team at The Star casino on Monday night.
Farah and Smith have faced off during Queensland's reign of dominance over the last 11 years and a points decision over his arch-rival at club level would be figured into Daley's final considerations.
South Sydney coach Michal Maguire is adamant Farah is focussed on club duties this weekend though.
"We've brought Robbie in and he's performed well for us last week and we're going to have Cookie (Damien Cook) coming on like we have in the past," Souths coach Michael Maguire said.
"(Farah) hasn't even mentioned Origin. He's all about this week's game. He's pretty keen to go out and play for his teammates."
TALE OF THE TAPE
How NSW's hooker contenders shape up this season
* 10 matches
* 1 try
* 1 try assist
* 1 linebreak assist
* 2 linebreaks
* 2 tackle busts
* average 79 minutes
* 36.6 tackles per game
* 10 matches
* 1 try
* 6 try assists
* 7 linebreak assist
* 0 linebreaks
* 4 tackle busts
* average 48 minutes
* 23.1 tackles per game