It is now under a month until Origin 1 kicks off in Sydney. That means we have three-or-so weeks to speculate about the makeup of each squad.
Truthfully I find the lead up to Origin as extremely disruptive. It's almost a distraction from the NRL action, but come kick-off, nothing in the world matters as much as the result of that game.
The Storm superstar, and the owner of the most iconic haircut in the game, was considered a lock for Origin selection come Game 1.
Papenhuyzen came within a whisker of a debut in Game 3 in 2020. Given James Tedesco's head injury inside 20 minutes, it was a missed opportunity.
Ironically Papenhuyzen missed Origin consideration in 2021 due to a head injury of his own. Prior to that Magic Round incident, he was leading the Dally M Count and looked like he would nab a bench spot.
Fast forward to Round 9 in 2022 and again the Storm speedster is tearing the competition apart. Again though injury has struck at the worst time and he will be unavailable for at least the series opener.
Given the increased speed in the overall game, combined with the tightening of HIA protocols, naming a utility player on the bench has become a necessity.
In another case of cruel irony, Papenhuyzen's injury has again opened the door for the man who launched his career in 2021 due to Papenhuyzen being unavailable.
Sharks halfback Nicho Hynes has now surely firmed into Origin contention, if he wasn't already.
I'd argue straight off the bat in a pure utility role that Hynes fills the position better than Papenhuyzen.
Coming off a man of the match performance against the Warriors, Hynes is firmly in Dally M contention despite switching positions. He stormed onto the scene in 2021 at fullback, yet was signed by Craig Fitzgibbon to lead his new side in the number seven.
Despite being the junior partner in the halves combination Hynes is absolutely the main man in the Shire. He kicks, he controls and he calls the shots.
His playmaking skills and ability to play on both sides of the field have allowed Matt Moylan to play his natural game. This had ensured the Sharks are a far different beast in 2022.
Hynes was forced to return to his old stomping grounds at fullback this past fortnight due to William Kennedy's sending off and suspension.
He was comfortably the best player on the park playing a in a hybrid role of fullback in defence and halfback in attack while the Sharks had just 12 against the New Zealand Warriors.
I'll put it to the people right now - who offers more utility value (and is eligible for selection) than Nicho Hynes?
He's starred at fullback and in the halves, has played in the centres and has time playing at lock.
Jack Wighton is the man most likely to provide a roadblock to Nicho's Origin debut. He can play anywhere from one and seven and runs like a forward.
The only difference between the two is current form. Hynes is breathing fire while Wighton is struggling in a side who are playing well below-par.
Wighton looks frustrated and was recently suspended. Meanwhile, Hynes has played every minute of every game this season to date and looks in career-best form.
Radley can fill in at nine but if Cleary or Luai go down, a big shuffle will be needed. Same too a centre, winger or fullback.
Gutherson offers one to six coverage and has Origin experience.
Hynes though, perhaps prop aside, can slot in anywhere. Given that NSW is likely to go with a huge pack, I don't see any way a utility would be forced into that spot.
For that reason, I'm ruling Gutherson and Radley out for now.
I'm always a big believer that if a decision is close that you go with the form player.
Even the biggest of Canberra fans will surely concede that their man is not firing as he can this season.
Sharks fans, myself included, are only all too happy to remind you that Hynes has been at the centre of everything this season for the club. His form is top-level and his confidence is sky-high.
I wouldn't go so far as to say Nicho Hynes is the only option for the role but right now he's absolutely the best option.