Michael Maguire may have suffered another significant blow to his selection process for the 2024 State of Origin series opening game, with Cody Walker ruled out of this week's match.

In what would have been his final audition for a potential spot in the NSW Blues team, the South Sydney Rabbitohs have confirmed that Cody Walker will not take part in the match against the Eels after sustaining a low-grade calf strain.

The club confirmed that he had been ruled out despite the temptation to include him on the team list this weekend after suffering the injury last week in Magic Round.

Walker was one of four contenders that emerged as contenders to take the five-eighth position and will likely partner Nicho Hynes in the halves for Game One of Origin - the other candidates were Luke Keary, Jarome Luai and Matt Burton.

While he won't play on Saturday night, he is expected to return for Round 14 against the Gold Coast Titans and, if selected, be fit for the NSW Blues.

Despite the injury, The Daily Telegraph has reported that he is still in the frame to add to his appearances for the Blues and could rise on the Origin arena.

On Thursday, former NSW Blues skipper Andrew Johns backed Walker to be chosen by Maguire in an article he published in The Sydney Morning Herald.

"Sometimes, going into an Origin camp can help players escape the troubles weighing them down at their club. I think that can be the case for Walker, who was man of the match in last year's series finale," he wrote.

"It might be a contentious call, but it's one Maguire has got to make.

"He has a pre-existing relationship with Walker, and I'm sure the Souths star will benefit from playing behind a forward pack that is taking him into the contest."