Queensland star Aidan Guerra benefited from the hostile environment Suncorp Stadium can produce when the Maroons claimed this season’s State of Origin series with a record thumping of NSW in July.
But the Sydney Roosters back-rower will be on the other side of that equation when the Tricolours travel north to meet Brisbane in Friday night’s first NRL preliminary final.
Much like the Queenslanders, Suncorp Stadium has proven to be a happy hunting ground for the Broncos this season. Their 10-3 home record in 2015 is only bettered by the 11-3 effort by the Roosters at Allianz Stadium .
Guerra says the Roosters are bracing for an Origin-type ‘reception’ for the match.
“I am looking forward to the atmosphere up there, they may not be cheering for us but it will be a grand final or a State of Origin atmosphere that is for sure,” Guerra told AAP.
“We just have to brace ourselves for that. It is going to be tough up there. The Broncos are tough every day of the week but with that atmosphere we are going to have to put our best foot forward.
“We are evenly matched, they were very consistent all year and we finished the regular season well.
“It is a bit of a tussle, we play contrasting styles but we both pride ourselves on defence.”
The Roosters and the Broncos played out two of the closest matches of the year in the regular-season.
Brisbane prevailed 22-18 at Suncorp Stadium in round six on the back of a Ben Hunt try in golden point.
The Roosters were 12-10 victors in round 24 at Allianz Stadium.
The Roosters booked their preliminary final showdown with the Broncos courtesy of a 38-12 win over Canterbury in Friday’s semi-final.
The foundation club was again without co-captain Mitchell Pearce, who will return from a hamstring injury to face Brisbane.
It will be the NSW five-eighth’s first match since suffering the injury against the Broncos in round 24.
Jackson Hastings has filled in capably in the absence of Pearce and he will likely be retained for the preliminary final on coach Trent Robinson’s bench.
“It is a big boost to have Mitch back,” Guerra said.
“He is one of our skippers and he is definitely our leader on the field … his boots have been filled really well by Jackson Hastings.
“We are excited to have Mitch back but also excited to see what Jackson can do.”
North Queensland will meet Melbourne in the second preliminary final at AAMI Park on Saturday after thrashing Cronulla 39-0 in their semi-final in Townsville.
Representative props Matt Scott and James Tamou led the way for the home side with a pair of barnstorming efforts.
However Scott knows the Storm will be a completely different proposition in Melbourne than the below-par Sharks were in Townsville.
“I have been dreaming all year (of a title) but this puts us a step closer,” Scott said.
“But Melbourne is a different kettle of fish. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves.”