BLUES second-rower Anthony Watmough admitted the conjecture on whether fellow aggressors Greg Bird and Paul Gallen would play in Wednesday night's Origin decider has had a negative impact on his team.
Bird and skipper Gallen have been two of New South Wales's most consistent players in recent seasons, but are carrying respective ankle and foot injuries.
Reports suggest Bird should play, but the uncertainty over Gallen is increasing.
"They're both crucial players for us, and we want them and need them both on deck," Watmough said yesterday.
"This has set us back a little bit, but there are people ready to step up if they're not right."
Wests Tigers prop Aaron Woods, who disappointed on his debut in Origin II, has been training with the squad and will play if Gallen is ruled out, while Sydney Roosters back-rower Boyd Cordner has been called in as cover for Bird.
Gallen and Bird were seen walking around training while locked in conversations with coaching staff at Coogee yesterday, both without their moon boots on.
Bird engaged in minimal running, while Gallen only completed some stretching.
It is believed Bird has no structural damage in his ankle, with a further assessment to be made on Gallen today.
Hooker Robbie Farah will take over the captaincy if Gallen is ruled out, but Farah joked the tough captain would be fine unless "someone cuts off his leg".