THE forgotten man of State of Origin, Knights prop David Klemmer, gets a chance to jog NSW coach Brad Fittler's memory when he clashes head-on with long-time adversary Josh Papalii at Canberra Stadium on Sunday.
Klemmer has made 14 interstate appearances for the Blues but has not been required since helping Fittler win back-to-back series in 2018 and 2019.
Knights coach Adam O'Brien believes Klemmer has rarely played better, and after NSW's 16-10 loss in last week's series opener, the 28-year-old warhorse could come back into calculations for Origin II in Perth on Sunday week.
There are clouds over the starting front-rowers NSW selected for that game, after Parramatta's Regan Campbell-Gillard was widely criticised for his performance and Payne Haas was replaced with a shoulder injury playing for Brisbane three nights later.
On Sunday, Klemmer will do battle with a familiar sparring partner in Papalii, who has been a cornerstone of Queensland's pack in 21 Origins.
Klemmer and his engine-room partner Jacob Saifiti, a standby player in NSW's extended squad for Origin I, are primed for a heavyweight showdown with Papalii and Kiwi international Joseph Tapine that will go a long way towards deciding Sunday's contest.
"Big Paps, he's obviously their enforcer and I think Joey Tapine has had a great season as well," Klemmer said on Friday.
"Both of them comboed up, they've been very deadly the last couple of weeks.
"We've just got to make sure we're obviously working together and stopping them.
"That's how they play most of their footy."
With regards to Origin, Klemmer said he would be "stoked" to win a recall but his focus is to keep "doing my job and playing the footy I'm playing" for the Knights.
"If that sort of stuff happens and your form warrants selection, those people will pick you," he said.
"But my main focus is just trying to turn up every week at Newcastle and put my best foot forward."
The fierce competitor said his teammates are desperate to atone for last week's 42-6 loss at home to Penrith and are refusing to give up on their unlikely quest to make the finals.
"As a playing group, we were disappointed when we came in," he said." And the fans would have been as well ...
"We've got to start winning footy games, plain and simple. If we want to play semi-final football, we've got to get that hunger back and start winning footy games."
Meanwhile, towering Knights winger Dominic Young revealed that England coach Shaun Wane has reached out to gauge his interest in representing his country of birth at the end-of-season World Cup.
The 20-year-old flyer, who has scored eight tries for Newcastle in his 16-game NRL career, had been considering playing for Jamaica, who have qualified for the World Cup for the first time.
"I'll just keep doing my job and see what happens at the end of the year," he said.
"I think Shaun Wane spoke to my agent, but I don't really know what's going on to be honest.
"I've not really thought about it too deeply yet. There's still a big chunk of the season to go.
"I'll probably think about what I really want to do at the back end of the year."
One way or the other, Young said he "definitely" wanted to be involved in the World Cup, to be held in England in October and December.
"Obviously back home in front of my friends and family, it'd be pretty special to be in the World Cup," he said.
His immediate priority is to help Newcastle bounce back against Canberra on Sunday.
"Every game is a massive game for us now," Young said.
"We're used to playing finals. We've played finals the past two years and we don't want this year to be any different."
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