NSW star Cameron Murray has bolstered his chances of playing in the State of Origin opener on June 9 after being named to return for South Sydney.
The Rabbitohs star has missed the past three weeks with a syndesmosis injury, but has been named to make his comeback against Parramatta on Saturday night.
The Blues have been desperate for Murray's return after a string of injuries and suspensions in the pack, with the 23-year-old considered a walk up start for the Origin side if fit.
Murray played only one game in last year's series after suffering a hamstring injury in the opener in Adelaide.
His return will come as a huge relief for not only the Blues but the Rabbitohs, who have been flogged by Penrith and Melbourne while he's been out.
"It showed where we've been at over the last month with our footy, we've been getting away with close wins and let teams score 20 or 30 points on us and we score 40," said Souths winger Campbell Graham.
"It's a wake-up call for us and it shows that our defence needs to improve.
"The belief is still there, we know we can be better and it's just about doing it now."
Origin teams are set to be named at the end of round 12, with Brad Fittler to announce his Blues side on Sunday night and Queensland on Monday morning.
Queensland are set for a boost of their own with Newcastle fullback Kalyn Ponga named to return against Manly from a groin injury that has sidelined him for a fortnight.
However, Cameron Munster is in doubt to play the series opener at the MCG on June 9 with a foot injury.
The Melbourne star was not named to face Brisbane on Thursday night with the club saying he is not healing as quickly as they had hoped.
"He's in some doubt for Origin I at some stage, but we'll see how the next few days go before giving an indication for Origin I," said Storm football manager Frank Ponissi.
It means the Maroons star would have missed three games in the lead up to Paul Green announcing his team on Monday morning.
But it's likely last year's player of the series will be named in the Maroons squad and given every chance to prove his fitness before the opening game.
Elsewhere, David Fifita will make his return from suspension for the Gold Coast against Cronulla, while Anthony Milford has been recalled to partner Albert Kelly in the Brisbane halves in place of the suspended Tyson Gamble.