Be afraid, be very afraid of what Queensland are cooking up for this year's State of Origin series.
Ignore the odds, they never mean anything when it comes to Origin. The Blues have lost far more individual games and series as the popular pick in the betting than they would like to admit.
Many times during Origin's long and fabulous history bookmakers routinely installed NSW as favourites because they had far more top-class players to pick from and that was reflected on paper.
But these games aren't played on paper. It - Blues favouritism - has even happened at times when plain common sense would tell you Queensland had the better side.
There are various reasons the Blues have lost more series than they've won, including the fact Queensland had a hard core of bona fide superstars during that amazing run of eight straight series wins by the Maroons from 2006-13 and three more from 2015-17.
But the reasons that recur the most are that Queensland "get" Origin better than NSW do and "want it" - success in that arena - more. It isn't always the case, but it has been more often than not.
You can see it in the comparative knowledge of how to get the job done out there and which team has been more dominant in the desperate final stages of close games.
NSW have never looked more at home in Origin than when Phil Gould coached them for six series wins over eight years in two stints - from 1992-96 and 2002-04. Clearly, Gould got Origin, and no other NSW coach has come close to matching his ability to get the Blues home.
Brad Fittler has won three out of the last four series since taking over as Blues coach, but as good as that record looks within itself, there were significant missed opportunities within that period as well.
The great Queensland side of the previous decade or more was finally being disassembled due to age, with most of their superstars no longer playing Origin in 2018 and a couple of others making their farewells that year.
NSW won the series 2-1, missing the chance for a clean sweep by losing game three in Brisbane.
The 2019 series went right down to the wire in a deciding game three, when James Tedesco scored to clinch it for the Blues. When you compared the two teams on paper, that series shouldn't have been so desperately close. But, hey, that's Origin, and that's Queensland.
In 2020, the Maroons were in a rebuilding phase, and although both teams were hit by injury it was Queensland that suffered the most. It really was a series NSW should have had little trouble winning, but, again, this was Origin and the Maroons had a not-so-secret weapon.
Wayne Bennett had returned as coach and he orchestrated a game-one win against a disappointing NSW outfit. When the Blues won game two easily it appeared a formality they would clinch the series in game three, but a good, old-fashioned Suncorp Stadium ambush saw the opposite result.
Last year, when pandemic-related issues meant all three games were played in Queensland, NSW won the first two games by a combined score of 76-6. But they wasted a glorious opportunity to complete a unique "all-away" clean sweep.
Paul Green was the Queensland coach then, but now it's Billy Slater's turn in the job and it doesn't bother me one bit that he hasn't coached before. He has what it takes to be a great Queensland coach.
Slater was meticulous with his preparation as a champion player for Melbourne, Queensland and Australia. He was a ferocious competitor and should excel at researching the opposition and devising strategic plans.
I read some quotes from Slater in a story recently where he was asked what he thought of David Fifita's progress at Gold Coast.
"Sometimes people just think you need to get the ball to Dave and it doesn't matter how he gets it, but defences are so good these days that every team who plays the Titans, the number one guy on their tip sheet is David Fifita. There is a lot of attention around him," Slater said. "The Titans need to create some structures to get him into space and have other guys around him who can do the heavy lifting for him. If the Titans can do that ... he will repay them."
That summed up the Fifita situation perfectly and was reflective of the quality of Slater's football brain and how much thought he puts into the game.
The Origin teams for game one in Sydney on June 8 will be named after this weekend's NRL round and Queensland's team is coming together nicely. Look at their anticipated spine, for a start - Kalyn Ponga, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans and Harry Grant.
Immortal-in-waiting Cameron Smith is on the Queensland coaching staff under Slater, which also includes Johnathan Thurston and Josh Hannay. The Maroons can be optimistic about their chances.
They will not lack in terms of preparation.
NSW, even without injured superstars Tom Trbojevic, for the series, and Latrell Mitchell, for game one at least, will still field a very strong side. It'll be the stronger side on paper and - no shock, again - the Blues are hot favourites with the bookmakers to win game one and also the series.
But this will be the biggest challenge Fittler, his coaching staff and the NSW team under their direction have faced yet. The warning bells are ringing. Slater and Co. are going to bring it.
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