As the 2024 State of Origin series approaches, new NSW Blues coach Michael Maguire will have difficulty choosing several positions for the series-opening game in Melbourne.

There has been much talk on whether Zac Lomax or Joseph Suaalii will make their Origin debut, who should partner Nathan Cleary in the halves, or which players will lead the forward pack in the middle of the field.

However, as Maguire takes his time selecting the right choice, he still has one of the most important positions to choose, which has gone under the radar, and that is who will play off the interchange bench to accompany Apisai Korisau in the dummy-half role.

Less than two months away from the opening game of the series, Reece Robson, Wayde Egan, Cameron McInnes, Damien Cook, and Blayke Brailey have all emerged as contenders to take the converted utility spot off the interchange bench and create a one-two-punch combination to combat Harry Grant and Ben Hunt.

The contending quintet all bring their own positives and negatives to being selected, and Maguire has yet to provide a hint on who he will ultimately select.

As speculation runs rampant and Maguire has failed to address rumours or provide any hints, the incumbent hooker Apisai Koroisau has backed one of the players to make their long-awaited State of Origin debut in Game 1.

Koroisau has backed Cronulla Sharks hooker Blayke Brailey to slot straight into the team. Yet to play in the State of Origin arena, Brailey was a surprising late replacement in last year's Game 1 extended squad for the NSW Blues.

"He's already a great player...he's got that grit about him and that toughness," Koroisau said.

"Obviously, he's a great player, and he's got all the attributes as well, so he can easily slide in there if you need him to."

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 31: Blayke Brailey of the Sharks celebrates scoring a try during the round four NRL match between Cronulla Sharks and Canberra Raiders at PointsBet Stadium, on March 31, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Earlier in the month, Brailey confirmed his Origin intentions to this publication before it was revealed that he met with Maguire ahead of the opening game of the series alongside several other spine players.

This season, he has been a vital piece to the Sharks' rise to the top of the ladder and provided consistency in attack and defence. Scoring two tries, he has also provided two try assists and made 248 tackles at an incredible efficiency rate of 95.4 per cent.

Admitting he learned a lot from Koroisau during his previous Origin camp, he has also earned the backing of former teammate Connor Tracey, who stated he would "let no one down" if he was selected for the team.

"Yeah, 100 per cent," Tracey told Zero Tackle when asked if he could see Brailey in the NSW Blues jersey.

"The aura he brings to a team, he's super calm and gets through a lot of work and is super creative.

"I definitely think if he got put in there, he'd definitely let no one down, and he'd be a good player in that arena."