Billy Slater is on track to answer Queensland's State of Origin SOS with the veteran fullback named to make his return from a hamstring injury in Melbourne's NRL clash with Newcastle.
Maroons coach Kevin Walters has been sweating on Slater's fitness after the 34-year-old had pulled out just days ahead of Queensland's 22-12 Origin series-opening loss in Melbourne.
Maroons selectors will hope they can run the rule over Slater on Sunday as they look to save the series in June 24's Origin II in Sydney.
Jahrome Hughes is on standby at the Storm to fill in again for Slater.
Slater is desperate to add to his 29 Origin tally, having announced he will retire from representative football after the 2018 series.
Slater will line up on Sunday against the player many believe will be the next long-term Maroons No.1 - the Knights' Kalyn Ponga.
Melbourne's backline has been bolstered further by the return of centres Curtis Scott and Will Chambers from suspension while Tim Glasby shifts from lock to prop to replace Jesse Bromwich (hamstring).
At North Queensland, coach Paul Green has run out of patience with his misfiring backline, dumping centre Justin O'Neill, winger Antonio Winterstein and fullback Lachlan Coote for Friday night's clash with the Warriors.
Green ignored calls from the likes of Mal Meninga to switch Michael Morgan to halfback, keeping the Maroons' star at fullback at Coote's expense after welcoming him back from a groin strain.
"Something had to change. I think we are probably at that point, given our performance on Saturday night," Green said, referring to their disappointing last-round loss to Parramatta.
Cowboys prop Scott Bolton returns from a rib complaint to pack down in the front row with Queensland hopeful Matt Scott.
North Queensland line up against a Warriors side who have named captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (ankle) at fullback.
South Sydney welcome back Origin stars Greg Inglis, Dane Gagai, Damien Cook and Angus Crichton for Thursday night's match against the Eels.
For the Sydney Roosters, Boyd Cordner returns after a last-round Origin rest, with Queensland foe Dylan Napa back in the starting side for Friday night's clash with Penrith.
The Panthers - reeling from Peter Wallace's shock call to retire immediately with a shoulder complaint - have replaced Viliame Kikau (knee) on the bench with young gun Jack Hetherington, back from suspension.
At Canberra, England international Josh Hodgson will play his first game since last year's World Cup after overcoming knee surgery to be named for Sunday's clash with the Wests Tigers.
Manly coach Trent Barrett has resisted the temptation to pick banished playmaker Jackson Hastings.
Instead Barrett named 19-year-old hooker Manase Fainu to make his NRL debut, replacing Apisai Koroisau (foot) while Moses Suli (disciplinary) returns at centre for Saturday's showdown with St George Illawarra.
NSW centre James Roberts (achilles) is back for Brisbane's Saturday game with Cronulla.
Gold Coast's Jack Stockwell moves to the starting front-row for Queensland prop Jarrod Wallace (suspension) for the Titans' Saturday clash with Canterbury.