Tony Durkin: How do we judge this Blues side?
THAT old adage 'never judge a book by its cover' was doubtless explained to most of us in our tender years, more than likely by our parents or our teachers.
And while it is commonly a warning to be cautious, restraining from making a mental judgement on the state of mind of the respective Origin camps during this week's televised team announcements was nigh on impossible.
Put mildly, the contrast in body language within the two camps was astonishing.
One team was jovial, playful and seemingly having the time of their lives; the others looked like they were about to face a firing squad. And there are no prizes for guessing which team was which.
Although they lost the series last year - for the first time in nine years - some will say the Queenslanders are cocky. And on the surface that is probably a fair assumption.
But is it cockiness, or simply an air of confidence coupled with the pure joy of being together once again? Unquestionably their bond is as tight as that of a close family.
There is little doubt that Laure Daley has sought to bring that same feeling of belonging to the Blues, but forces from within continue to play the nark. Rather than celebrate their inclusion at the team announcement, some players looked almost guilty to be there.
The Mitchell Pearce selection is a case in point. Sure his stats at Origin aren't good - in fact they are terrible. But, after missing last year's series, he has played the house down in 2015 and on form deserves to be there. Mind you, it is difficult to offer the same support for Will Hopoate, Josh Morris or Trent Hodkinson, who have been well below their best.
But again, as has happened ad nauseam for almost a decade now, some ex-Blues players continue to carp at their own. Rather than find the positives - especially after last year's series win - they appear happiest grabbing a headline by bagging the team that represents them.
Is it any wonder then that the players at Tuesday's team announcement looked as though they were heading into a natural disaster and not for what is the most-anticipated sporting event in the country?
If their peers publically doubt them, that surely must lead to reservations. But then, maybe we should not judge this intriguing Blue book by its cover.
Yes, yes, yes
Mal Meninga re-signing as Queensland Origin coach for three more years. His Origin presence, since he kicked sevengoals in game one, has been masterful.
No, no, no
If the NSW interchange bench is as good as we keep hearing, why aren't these guys in the starting side?