NSW five-eighth Jarome Luai is confident he can strike up a partnership with Nicho Hynes if given a reprieve by Brad Fittler as the Blues attempt to save the State of Origin series without Nathan Cleary.

Fittler’s worst fears were confirmed on Monday when scans revealed Cleary had suffered a left hamstring tear in the Panthers’ win over St George Illawarra.

Cleary is set to miss “up to six weeks”, ruling him out of Game II in Brisbane on June 21 and leaving him at long odds to feature in Sydney’s series-closer on July 12.

There was welcome news on the injury front for Fittler when South Sydney skipper Cameron Murray was cleared of a serious groin issue, with the lock to be monitored by the Rabbitohs.

But the focus before Fittler names his squad next Monday will be on who he chooses as Cleary’s replacement for the must-win trip to Lang Park.

NSW have never saved a series in Brisbane and they head there without Cleary’s precise kicking game.

Luai endorsed Cronulla playmaker Hynes to fill the void.

Hynes is in sparkling form for his club, won last year’s Dally M Medal and made his debut as bench utility in Adelaide last week.

“We’ve got a guy like Nicho there with a Dally M, he’s been in camp for the last two State of Origin series and he’s ready for it,” Luai said.

“That’s what footy’s about, getting an opportunity and then stepping up on the day.

“He’s definitely capable of that and I’ll back him.

“He has (trained) at seven and at six. He’s a guy who has been learning the role of every position that he needed to.

“He’s been in there, he’s watched it all, this is his opportunity and he’s ready for it.”

Aside from throwing Hynes straight into his starting side, Fittler could also consider bringing Parramatta’s Mitchell Moses or Brisbane’s Adam Reynolds into the fold.

Broncos halfback Reynolds hasn’t played Origin since 2016 but his return could pave the way for him to rekindle the partnership he once enjoyed with Cody Walker at the Rabbitohs.

Fittler has banked on the Cleary-Luai combination over the past two series, but Luai believes he has done enough to retain his spot even without his fellow Panthers playmaker.

“I’m confident in myself and I thought I did my job last game,” Luai said.

“Rugby league’s a weird game, you just always need to be ready and when you’re called upon you need to do a good job.

“I’ll be ready if he calls upon me again.”