He may have relied on the loyalty card in the past but Aidan Guerra has been tipped to become the ace up Queensland’s sleeve in Wednesday’s State of Origin III in Sydney.
Out of sorts backrower Guerra has been identified as the man who can step into the big shoes left behind by injured bench utility Michael Morgan.
The Maroons will tinker with the formula that helped them win 10 series in 11 years, opting to unleash an all forwards bench in Morgan’s absence in Origin III.
Guerra is one of the four interchange big men – but Queensland teammate Jacob Lillyman believes the Sydney Roosters secondrower can be so much more.
Lillyman says Guerra’s versatility will ensure Queensland regains their edge despite having Morgan sidelined.
“We don’t have Michael Morgan but someone like Aidan Guerra will probably play that role,” Lillyman said.
Guerra has been retained on the Maroons bench despite amassing a total of just 113m – including only 37m in game two – off the bench this series to date.
Guerra has been the first to admit he must repay the selectors’ faith this series.
Lillyman said none of the dominant Maroons outfit took their jersey for granted despite trying to seal a fifth series whitewash on Wednesday night.
Lillyman regained his spot in Origin II after being the only incumbent Maroons overlooked for game one.
“After (being part of) game three last year I thought with loyalty I should be right for game one,” he said.
“But that’s part of footy. You are never guaranteed a jersey.
“I tried to take my chance in game two.
“That’s why I don’t hear any dead rubber talk (from Queensland) – every game is an opportunity.”
Lillyman will chime into a pack featuring returning prop Nate Myles.
The 30 Origin veteran is nursing a knee injury at the game three camp on the Gold Coast.
“His return is massive,” Lillyman said.
“The way he has approached Origin the last 10 years he has led the way in terms of toughness and what sort of player you have to be to succeed in this game for so long.
“He brings a hard edge.”