NSW skipper Boyd Cordner has endorsed "phenomenal" Payne Haas to become the least experienced Blues player in Origin history after demolishing the Roosters' formidable premiership-winning pack.
Cordner watched Haas's man-of-the-match effort for Brisbane last week from his lounge room after 'scary' vision of his concussion sustained at Suncorp five days earlier convinced him he needed the HIA-enforced break.
What he saw from 19-year-old Haas was just as daunting.
Haas ran riot against Cordner's teammates and rep regulars Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Siosiua Taukeiaho, Angus Crichton and Isaac Liu last week, in what was just his ninth first grade game.
With Brad Fittler and his NSW hierarchy to meet this week before naming the Blues' game one side on Sunday, Haas is firming for a bench spot ahead of a final Origin audition on Saturday against the Warriors.
Fittler himself remains the least experienced Blues debutant in Origin history. He had made just 12 first grade appearances before his maiden Origin game in 1990, while a call-up for Haas would make him the first teenage forward since a 19-year-old Brad Clyde debuted in 1989.
"[Haas] is putting his name up and I reckon he's up to that standard for sure with what he's shown," Cordner said, having debuted in sky blue himself a month after his 21st birthday in 2013.
"It's impressive. If you have a look at his numbers and the impact he's having on the game, it's hard to not say that he's one of the in-form players of the competition, definitely forward-wise.
"To see the amount of games he's played ... it's pretty phenomenal what he's done so far."
Haas has been on Fittler's radar since the age of 15 as a junior NSW star of immense promise.
Two years ago he also landed firmly in Queensland's sights, an opposed session as an Andrew Fifita 'clone' for the Maroons forwards to practice their swarming defence against.
Haas will push the likes of Dale Finucane, Cameron Murray, Matt Lodge and Jordan McLean for a spot in Fittler's middle rotation with Paul Vaughan, Jake Trbojevic and David Klemmer all odds-on to be retained up front.
Cordner makes a timely return for the Roosters in a mouthwatering Friday night trip to Newcastle.
The 26-year-old had initially pushed Roosters medical staff to clear him of concussion symptoms last week before being shown footage of his head knock.
Cordner was left prone on the Suncorp turf early in a Magic Round win over Canberra and immediately ruled out of the contest.
"I obviously wanted to play the next weekend. Being a player I was going in and pushing them to let me play," Cordner said.
"But [the doctors] said 'look we've had a look at it, it looks pretty bad'.
"With the HIA, the video stays on the player so they can determine it. I didn't move. I asked if I could have a look at it, I think I needed to see that.
"Once I saw it I thought 'shit. I'll have a week off'. It was pretty scary. If I hadn't seen it I would've been like 'why can't I play?'
"I try not to think about [concussion effects] too much because I'm not in that situation at the moment.
"But it is a delicate situation when there's anything to do with your head. It's a pretty frustrating injury too because you're able. You're body's able, it's not like a soft tissue or anything. But at the same time you've got to sit back and think it's pretty serious stuff, you don't want to mess around with it."