NRL Rd 16 - Eels v Rabbitohs
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs looks on during the round 16 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium on August 27, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

While a certain Origin starter when fit, the currently hamstrung Latrell Mitchell has provided NSW Blues head coach Brad Fittler with a selection headache less than two months out from the series' commencement.

However, unlike previous seasons, the Roosters and Panthers' champion won't be complaining about this cranium squeeze, as he has two ready-made replacements up his sleeve.

Although untested at the level, both Brisbane's Kotoni Staggs and Penrith's Stephen Crichton have produced scintillating starts to their respective 2022 seasons and are currently the clubhouse leaders to fulfill the Souths star's duties in Origin I.

Having averaged 156 run metres, 11 tackle busts, 1.5 linebreaks, an offload and a try across the past fortnight, Staggs has proven a shining light in Brisbane's defeats to the Chooks and Mountain Men.

And while Crichton has crossed the chalk on three occasions from six starts, 10-time New South Wales representative Ryan Girdler believes it is the Red Hill prospect that makes the best fit for Fittler's squad.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 28: Kotoni Staggs of the Broncos looks on after a Roosters try during the round 16 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Brisbane Broncos at the Sydney Cricket Ground on August 28, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“It is going to be hard to dent Kotoni Stagg’s form of late,” the ex-centre told Triple M.

“I think a lot of his form often gets overlooked, Crichton has been in great touch and he contributes on a weekly basis, he is really consistent, he is a great defensive player and is always looking for work and has a great attitude towards the game.

“He is certainly going to be there or thereabouts, but the way that Kotoni has just single-handedly sort of dismantled the opposition in two consecutive weeks against some quality talented players, he is going to be pushing for a spot as well.”

Fittler will also be beaming given uncapped Bulldog Matt Burton and Origin experience pair Zac Lomax and Campbell Graham have all put their best foot forward across the opening month and change of their respective campaigns.

So, while the losses of Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic will have had many other man managers will have been tearing at their hair, the near ludicrous backline depth available to Fittler won't even have him reaching for the Panadol.

The series opener of the 'state vs state, mate vs mate' series is set to kickoff at Accor Stadium in Sydney's west on Wednesday, June 8.