IN the space of two weeks Newcastle Knights rookie Jarrod Mullen has gone from Andrew Johns's sidekick to a contender for the Blues. The 20 year old is looming as a State of Origin bolter after New South Wales selector Bob McCarthy yesterday declared the young No.6 had been earmarked as a future representative star. With a shortage of stocks in the crucial playmaking position, Mullen, Johns's protege at the Knights, could play his way into a Blues jersey over the next three rounds with strong performances for the Knights. "He is playing good and we will definitely consider him," McCarthy said. "We watched him play in the schoolboys a couple of years ago and we earmarked him for five years down the track. That's was only a couple of years ago so we will see what happens." Mullen is no certainty to be selected at five-eighth for New South Wales Country when the team is announced on Sunday, with St George-Illawarra's Ben Hornby and Knights full back Kurt Gidley in contention for the team's clash with New South Wales City next Thursday in Coffs Harbour. But McCarthy said the boom youngster was still a chance of unseating the favourites Jamie Lyon and Braith Anasta for an Origin call-up. "It depends where the Country blokes play him," McCarthy said. "We will see what happens in the City-Country game and then go from there." McCarthy is confident NSW will be able to come up with a halves combination capable of matching the formidable Queensland combination of Test stars Johnathan Thurston and Darren Lockyer. "(Brett) Kimmorley is playing good," McCarthy said. "And (Matt) Orford played good the other day when he came back. "We will have someone to take the fight to Queensland. Don't worry, we will have a good backline too."