Glenn Stewart hopes to play himself back into NSW contention after ruling himself out of next week’s first match in the series.
Back-rower Stewart, 29, has only just returned to action following a bout of pre-season surgery which ruled him out of the opening seven rounds of the NRL.
Stewart, a veteran of five Origin appearances for the Blues, told coach Laurie Daley he would not be ready in time for Wednesday’s clash at ANZ Stadium.
But he has hopes of returning to the Origin fold in time for the crucial second match in the series in Brisbane on June 26.
“I’m certainly not in real good form at the moment but it’s getting better each week and I don’t think I am up to scratch for Origin level,” Stewart told Manly’s official website.
“I think probably another week or two, including the bye, two to three weeks I should start to get back a bit of match fitness and also just that added strength because I missed the pre-season,” he said.
NSW and coach Daley will be looking to break a seven-year losing streak this year – their longest in Origin history.
“I certainly think the squad Laurie’s picked will give it a good shake, regardless of myself and my brother aren’t in there,” added Stewart.
“The blokes that they’ve got in there are certainly capable and a lot of them are in form for their club teams.
“I think they’re underdogs again but I think that’s a good thing for us.”