Tom Trbojevic won't give up on his end-of-year-Kangaroos dream as he attempts to beat a fractured cheekbone so he can face New Zealand and Tonga next month.
Trbojevic was injured in Manly's final game of the season when he was collected by the knee of Brisbane's Joe Ofahengaue, leaving him badly battered and with a broken cheekbone.
He had surgery last Friday and was ruled out for six weeks, all but ending his Kangaroos hopes after he played in last year's World Cup and was named in Australia coach Mal Meninga's merit squad from State of Origin in July.
But Trbojevic won't lose hope of an early return, with the October 13 Kiwi Test falling just over five weeks after the surgery.
"I've kind of been given no hope but I would like to think I'm still a chance," Trbojevic said.
"I've just got to see how I'm travelling and we'll wait and see. But I've got a bit of time.
"The verdict at the moment is six weeks so it leaves me a bit short. But I have heard stories of people coming back quicker."
Trbojevic could be one of a number of NSW State of Origin stars to dominate selection in the side if fit, with James Tedesco, Damien Cook and James Maloney expected to be named in a Blues-laden spine.
Trbojevic picked up Brad Fittler's True Blue Award at the NSW Origin team's presentation on Monday night for best displaying the culture of the team - the same prize his brother Jake claimed last year.
The pair have a mammoth task ahead of them in helping in the rebuild at Manly but Tom said the Origin's team's culture and values would be a good base from which to start.
"Freddy talked about the culture and I think if any footy team brought in that culture to a side you're going to be successful," the Sea Eagles fullback said.
"The year we've had at Manly has not been the year we wanted to. We finished down the bottom of the ladder and we didn't win too many games.
"Going forward, hopefully we can instil in our roster the similar values we carried here in camp. About putting your best foot forward to win footy games and be selfless.
"I think that's a big thing in footy teams you need to have in there to be successful."