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It's so close he can almost touch it, but Ben Barba refuses to believe a Queensland Origin jumper is his for the taking.
Barba is one of several contenders for the Maroons No.1 jumper expected to be vacant for the series decider in Brisbane next month due to incumbent Billy Slater's knee injury suffered in game two.
There is a strong push for Greg Inglis to be shifted from centre to fullback but, having been in camp with the Maroons last week, Barba knows he is at least in the frame.
"More hopeful than anything," Barba said of his selection chances.
"The thing about Queensland, there's so many good players you could pick from ... you've got one of the best fullbacks going around now playing the centres in Inglis and then you can bring in blokes like Dane Nielsen, Matty Bowen.
"I've got to focus real hard on my club form and let that do the talking and hope for the best."
Barba was strong without being spectacular in Canterbury's 28-20 win over St George Illawarra on Friday night, a dashing 60-metre second-half run down the sideline as well as a kick to set up Josh Morris' second try his highlights.
But while there are others in the running, it hasn't stopped Barba from dreaming of a debut at a jam-packed Suncorp Stadium on July 4.
"It would be (a fairytale), making your debut for Queensland in a decider," he said.
"But then again it's pretty nerve-wracking when you think about it, coming up against a really fired-up Blues side from the other night."I've got to try not to think about that or I'll go backwards."
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