Today Rob Crosby looks at the South Sydney Rabbitohs ahead of season 2017. Can they ascend the #NRL ...
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Manly halfback Matt Orford concedes he can do no more to convince selectors of his claims at a NSW jersey, admitting his disappointment at his City Origin snubbing last week.
Orford was overlooked for teenage star Mitchell Pearce and Brisbane young gun Peter Wallace for last week's Origin trial in Wollongong, instead spending the weekend away from the game overcoming a niggling ankle injury.
He has one last shot against Wallace's Brisbane side on Sunday to push his claims, but selectors are reportedly keen to put Newcastle utility Kurt Gidley in the hot-seat for Origin one when the team is announced next Tuesday.
Orford, and his coach Des Hasler, don't know what else the 30-year-old can do to convince selectors he is up to the challenge of Origin football.
Ideally Orford would like feedback from the selectors so he knows where he needs to improve to earn a NSW jersey.
"You don't get any feedback on how you could impress any more," said Orford.
"It would be pretty handy for the guys in contention if they wanted to see something more out of your game or something to work on you know it would be pretty good to have.
"I think I've been fairly consistent this year and I'm not sure what else I can do."
Hasler understands Orford has a reputation of not performing in big matches, but has implored selectors just to give Orford a chance after he was twice named but ruled out with injury.
"If you look at the Blues' options there he has been the most consistent performer," said Hasler.
"I understand some of the criticism has been he can't perform in big matches, well they haven't given him a chance at Origin.
"Until they give him a chance we will never know."
Sea Eagles teammate Brett Stewart is virtually guaranteed to retain his NSW fullback jumper, but is only a 50-50 chance to make his comeback from a calf injury against the Broncos.
Stewart says he would definitely be fit for the May 21 opener at ANZ Stadium, but ideally would like a chance to play this week to further stake his claims.
However, the 23-year-old is hesitant to risk further damage to the tear by playing on Sunday.
"I definitely wouldn't miss Origin," said Stewart.
"It was always going to be one or two weeks. I will have a fitness test later in the week and see how it goes but it feels pretty good at the moment.
"(But) if there is a slight tear and you happen to re-tear it again you're out for four to six weeks and that is something I don't want, to be sitting on the sidelines for that long at this time of the year."
Veteran Steve Menzies has been named to make his comeback from a hamstring strain in the back row for the Sea Eagles, the 34-year-old confident despite missing just two weeks with the injury.