Adam Reynolds has turned a corner and is ready to make a representative statement, according to South Sydney coach Michael Maguire.
Reynolds was the NSW's first-choice halfback for last year's State of Origin series loss, but fell out of the picture this year as the Rabbitohs slumped to 12th on the NRL ladder and his own form dipped.
But with the pressure firmly on Mitchell Pearce following his seventh series loss as a NSW halfback, Maguire said his own No.7 was very much still an Origin player.
"I have seen a real turn in Adam, especially over the past two months," Maguire said.
"He has taken the game by the scruff of the neck.
"He is one of the best kickers in the game, he can push the team around the park and when he runs he holds a lot of defenders.
"If he plays well the rewards of rep jerseys and those sorts of things come off the back of that."
Clear of the injuries that hurt him earlier in the season, Maguire desperately needs Reynolds to stand up this Sunday against North Queensland in Cairns.
The Souths coach insisted his team's finals hopes were not yet over, despite them likely requiring six wins from their final eight games to have any hope of making the finals.
In contrast, they have claimed just six wins from 16 games this season.
"It's in our hands, ultimately at the end of the day," Maguire said.
"At this stage of the year it's the business end, and if you want to have a crack at the finals then we may as well get out on the park and there is no better time to start that than Sunday."
Meanwhile the Cowboys will field all three of their Origin stars in a virtual home game, after Michael Morgan, Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess pulled through Wednesday's decider unscathed.
They are desperate for victory to keep pace with the top four, ahead of games against Melbourne, Cronulla, Brisbane and the Sydney Roosters in the run home to the finals.
STATS THAT MATTER:
* The Cowboys have the best completion rate in the competition (80.3 per cent).
* Souths have lost their last six home matches they have taken away from ANZ Stadium.
* The Cowboys are seeking to win three straight without Johnathan Thurston, something they have never done during his time at the club.
Source: Fox Sports Stats