AS Queensland begins its campaign for a historic ninth straight State of Origin series win tonight, local rugby league experts are unanimous that it will be a tough night at Suncorp Stadium for the cockroaches.
Game Development Officer Darren Burns said that while the home ground advantage would be the biggest factor in the Maroons' success, the selection of Bulldogs halves pairing Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds would work in our favour.
"They've played a lot together at club level, but Origin is a completely different game," Burns said.
"I was pretty happy when the Blues picked them, to be honest, because I think they'll struggle to adapt.
"Yes, Queensland has an aging side, but when the big moments arise we have the guys with the experience to pull out the big plays when they are needed.
"Matt Scott will have a huge impact as well. You can't win Origin without a great front rower, and the Maroons certainly have one in him."
Long-serving Gympie Rugby League volunteer Ivan Friske has no concerns about a Blues upset.
"While the forwards will do their bit, I think the flair of our halves and guys like Billy Slater will prove the difference," he said.
"I think New South Wales will be beaten convincingly, and they'll panic and make a lot of changes to the team for game two, which will disrupt them."
While Burns and Friske are tipping a ninth straight series win for Queensland, veteran Gympie player Kurt Fleming isn't so sure.
"I think the Blues have got us this year," he said.
"I'm tipping a Queensland win in game one, with a big game from Greg Inglis, but unfortunately I feel a 2-1 New South Wales series win is on the cards."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.