Josh Dugan is likely to be a late inclusion for St George Illawarra against Newcastle on Saturday, just in time to push for his NSW spot in State of Origin III.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor said Dugan only had to get through Friday's captain's run to be given the green light to take on the Knights at Hunter Stadium.
The fullback underwent elbow surgery three weeks ago after aggravating an injury while in Blues camp for last month's Origin opener.
He was not expected back until next week but, after training with the Dragons on Thursday, McGregor said Dugan had to clear one hurdle before making his return.
"I want him to do a really tough session on Friday, a tough contact session. He got through today fine and, if he pulls up ok and trains on Friday, he'll be playing," McGregor said.
"Duges is a very good healer, he does everything right on his rehab and he's forward in that and he's in a really good space at the moment.
"But he just hasn't done contact consistently time after time after time."