AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 20: Head Coach Mal Meninga of Australia looks on after the International Test match between Tonga and Australia at Mount Smart Stadium on October 20, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Kangaroos coach and former Queensland steward Mal Meninga has had his say on the Blues' current centres conundrum, claiming that he would start Jack Wighton over Latrell Mitchell if he was in Brad Fittler's shoes.

Having missed out on selection for NSW's 44-12 rout of the Maroons in Origin II due to COVID concerns, Wighton is in the box seat to retain his place in Fittler's XII for the decider after starring in the series opener.

However, with Mitchell's star quality evident, and with the Souths' back set to pull on the cardinal and myrtle this weekend for the first time since Round 5, Fittler has a choice to make prior to kick-off on July 13.

Though Mitchell has proven his mettle at Origin level on seven occasions since debuting in 2018, Meninga was of the view that rushing the Taree-born titan back from his hamstring rehabilitation would be fraught with danger.

“I have no doubt he’d (Mitchell) be able to handle it. But I would probably stick with the status quo, that’s what I’d do," Meninga told The Daily Telegraph.

“There has been heaps of other examples over time (of players returning to Origin with limited preparation), and he is such an experienced and great player he wouldn’t let them down.

“But maybe because he has been out for such a long period of time, and particularly with the injury he’s had, it might be a bit premature.”

Still, with Mitchell making more than murmurs about wanting to return to the Origin field for the decider, Fittler has had to go on the front foot stressing that the former Chook is not actually able to pick himself.

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“Is 'Trell' a selector now?” Fittler told the media with his tongue in cheek.

“He’s a very talented bloke, Latrell. I look forward to watching him this week.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 10: Blues coach Brad Fittler looks on during game three of the 2019 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the QueenslandMaroons at ANZ Stadium on July 10, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Though Mitchell will have the opportunity to run his repaired hamstring through the wringer against the Eels on Saturday night, Maninga stressed that the outcome of the 24-year-old's return was inconsequential.

“I think Jack probably deserves to be there really, based on his performance in game one," the league immortal added.

“He wouldn’t have lost his position if it wasn’t for Covid.

“That would be my thinking, but like I said, who am I to tell the Blues?”

Wighton will earn his own opportunity to re-stake his claim when Canberra travels to face the Dragons in Wollongong on Sunday evening.