Queensland pride themselves on their loyalty and out-of-sorts Maroons backrower Aidan Guerra admits he must repay the selectors’ faith in the State of Origin series opener.
The Sydney Roosters forward was considered fortunate along with Manly prop Nate Myles to retain their place in the Queensland side for the June 1 clash in Sydney.
Toiling away for the second-last Roosters, Guerra was under enormous pressure from mobile North Queensland second-rower Gavin Cooper.
And Myles looked set to make way for returning Brisbane prop Josh McGuire after a quiet start with new club Manly.
In the end, hardworking Warriors forward Jacob Lillyman was the unlucky Maroons incumbent cut for Origin I.
Guerra dodged a bullet – and he knows it.
“I felt a vote of confidence from the selectors – I am looking forward to repaying that,” he told AAP.
“I haven’t exactly been where I want to be.
“I look forward to going out there and showing what I can do.”
Guerra said the Roosters’ NRL plight was not ideal but never thought it would count against him on the Queensland selection table.
“The best thing about the Maroons system is that it is transparent,” said Guerra, who has played six Origins.
“They do like to stick by people who have been there before.
“Now it’s up to me to be back here for game two.”
Myles admitted he feared the worst after missing a trans-Tasman Test nod before finally receiving the phone call from Queensland selectors.
“It’s human nature to think about things in a bad way I suppose,” he told AAP.
“Don’t get me wrong the standard of football that I hold myself to is higher than what anyone else does.
“Although I’m not where I’d like to be, I definitely feel I’m doing a lot of things better now.
“The focus for me this week is not to think about anything other than the job for my side, this state.”
Myles will enter elite company running out for his 30th Origin next week – a remarkable achievement for a frontrower.
He will be the third member of the squad to enter the 30-game club.
Skipper Cameron Smith will break the Origin record with 37 games while Johnathan Thurston will play his 34th straight match.
The only other prop to have played 30 Origins is Queensland great Petero Civoniceva (33).