Queensland have been rocked by further State of Origin selection drama with Kalyn Ponga still sidelined with his groin injury and Felise Kaufusi facing a ban for tripping.
Newcastle announced on Friday that Ponga would miss their Sunday afternoon clash with Manly due to his ongoing groin complaint.
The star Queensland fullback was expected to play after already missing two matches and now faces a race against the clock to be fit for the series opener on June 9 at the MCG.
Ponga was tipped by retired Queensland captain Cameron Smith to step in as five-eighth should regular No.6 Cameron Munster not recover from a foot injury.
Second-rower Kaufusi will miss the match unless his challenge of a tripping charge in the final minutes of Melbourne's 40-12 win over Brisbane on Thursday night is successful.
Kaufusi was on the ground after making a tackle when he appeared to kick a leg out that makes contact with Brisbane hooker Jake Turpin.
Due to two previous non-similar offences in the past two years, he was unable to take a monetary penalty.
It's left him with no choice but to challenge the ban at the judiciary, with victory his only avenue to a berth in next Wednesday's opener.
The Queensland pack is already missing suspended enforcer Josh Papalii and injured Lindsay Collins, while Storm prop Christian Welch sat out the Brisbane match with a knee injury.
Hooker Harry Grant is recovering from a hamstring injury although he's expected to be available for the first match under new coach Paul Green, who will name his squad on Monday.
Welch said his knee injury wasn't serious and he would be fit for game one, which may be moved from the MCG with Victoria in the midst of a seven-day lockdown.
Welch conceded Munster was still in doubt, although he has started running this week.
"It's a really difficult injury that one ... but (Munster) is still a chance," Welch said.
"I had been carrying a niggle for the last month or so and on a five-day turnaround it was a bit much, so just wanted to be on the safe side, but there's no structural damage."
Welch said he was ready to step up in the absence of Papalii, who was banned for three weeks for a high shot on Canterbury's Tui Katoa.
"Papa has been the Maroons' leaders for a fair few years now; I will (step up) in my own way," Welch said.
"Effort and aggression will be what I base my game on."
After helping steer Queensland to a series win in 2020, Welch was excited to be part of a new era under Green and Maroons legend Johnathan Thurston, who is an assistant coach.