Clinton Shifcofske is expected to be given the Australian fullback position for next weekend�s test against New Zealand at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
His selection in the test side will almost guarantee him the Queensland State of Origin fullback job, with Panthers flyer and last year�s top try scorer Rhys Wesser tipped to miss out again.
Wesser was arguably the form fullback of the competition last season but missed out an Origin debut, much to the surprise of league experts.
Australian selectors are expected to choose Darren Lockyer at five-eighth for the clash with New Zealand next Friday, but the Broncos veteran is having trouble with an ankle injury that will prevent him from becoming the side�s goal kicker. Hence, Schifcofske�s inclusion in the side would also solve the goal kicking issue.
The selection of Lockyer at five-eighth, a position he only became accustom to when Wayne Bennett switched him from fullback this season, would mean Trent Barrett would miss out on a spot in the team.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, selectors are also tipped to bring Craig Gower into the squad at halfback, leaving Brett Kimmorley out of the side. Gower also has the potential to switch to hooker if need be.
But in reality, the battle for spots in the side could well come down to matches this weekend. Lockyer has a chance to shine against the Cowboys, while the real battle of the weekend is on Sunday at WIN Stadium where the top of the table Panthers meet the Dragons, who have let in just twelve points in their past two matches.
Barrett will be aiming to play the game of his life in the encounter with the defending premiers, while Gower will be out to cement his spot in the team.
As for Schifcofske, he has to prove himself against a struggling Sharks outfit that in the past two weeks have been defeated by the two sides expected to finish last and second last on the ladder � South Sydney and North Queensland.
The test side will be announced on Sunday.