The New South Wales rugby league captain Paul Gallen has encouraged Manly enforcer Tony Williams not to give up on a dream State of Origin debut in game one, despite his seven-week National Rugby League ban.
The Sea Eagles decided against seeking a downgrade for Williams' grade-four dangerous throw charge on Cronulla's Isaac De Gois.
Being rubbed out for seven weeks robs the incumbent Test player of a spot in Australia's side to take on New Zealand at Eden Park in April, and means he won't play a single NRL match before the Blues team is picked ahead of the Origin series-opener in Melbourne on May the 23rd.
The NSW coach Ricky Stuart said it was impossible to predict the Blues circumstances so far out from the first match, but Gallen says Williams isn't without hope.
Almost certain to have been one of the first players picked for the Blues, Gallen says Williams' powerful attributes could override his lack of match fitness when the time comes.