Mitchell Moses is set to become the second playmaker unavailable to be selected by Michael Maguire for the opening game of the 2024 State of Origin series.

Sidelined with a foot injury, Moses isn't set to return to the Parramatta Eels before Game 1 of Origin, and concerns have emerged about whether he can compete on the big stage without full fitness.

On Friday, Brad Arthur confirmed that he was unlikely to play before the opening game, casting even more doubts about his selection in the representative team.

Struggling to get game time due to spending time on the sidelines with injury, The Sydney Morning Herald understands that, according to sources, the NSW Blues are now looking at alternative choices with Moses to be overlooked.

This is a significant blow for the NSW Blues and Michael Maguire, who were already set to be without three-time premiership winner and two-time Clive Churchill Medallist Nathan Cleary.

With Cleary and Moses sitting on the sidelines, The Daily Telegraph has revealed that Nicho Hynes (Sharks), Jarome Luai (Panthers), Luke Keary (Roosters) and Cody Walker (Rabbitohs) are the leading contenders to play in the halves.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 05: Cody Walker of the Blues talks to team mates during game one of the 2019 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on June 05, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Hynes, the 2022 Dally M Medal winner, made his Origin debut in last year's opening game of the season but only saw 12 minutes of game time and was underutilized by coach Brad Fittler.

A playmaker at club level, his stint with the Blues saw him play out of position where he could not make an impact and was brought into the game before the result had already been decided.

Joining Hynes as the frontrunner for one of the two halves spots in Cleary's partner-in-crime at club football, Jarome Luai.

A key factor in the 2021, 2022 and 2023 State of Origin series, Luai was sensationally dropped from Game 3 last season in favour of Cody Walker but has since had a resurgence of form at the Panthers.

Brought in for Game 3, Walker has made five appearances in the State of Origin arena going back to 2019 and notched up his 200th NRL appearance on Saturday against the North Queensland Cowboys.

The most surprising out of the four, Luke Keary, has emerged as a contender despite recently announcing he will hang up the boots at the end of the season.

A three-time premiership winner with the Rabbitohs and Roosters, he has only played for the NSW Blues once before, with that game occurring in 2020.

However, he has also represented Australia and Ireland on the international stage and has a wealth of knowledge and experience in tough situations in the halves.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 04: Luke Keary of the Blues offloads the ball during game one of the 2020 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at the Adelaide Oval on November 04, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Former NSW Blues coach Phil Gould also revealed that Canterbury Bulldogs five-eight Matt Burton should also be considered for selection.

While not featuring in last year's series, Burton previously played in the centres for the Blues but has had a breakout season as the number-six jumper for the Bulldogs this season.

"I could endorse the selection of Luai at halfback and Burton at five-eighth," he said on Wide World of Sports' Six Tackles With Gus.

"I know they would do a job, but there's two trains of thought there. They are totally different players to what Nicho Hynes and Mitchell Moses are. Personally, that's what I think they will do - but would it be my preference?

"I've got a loyalty to Luai and Burton and if I was coaching, that's who I would go with.

"I wouldn't hesitate."