Guerra insists honour isn't enough
Maroons debutant Aidan Guerra has vowed to continue to uphold the standards set by the current record-breaking Queensland team and not allow the honour of representing his state to overwhelm him next Wednesday night.
Guerra is the sole new face from the team that clinched the 2013 Series in Sydney last July, Sam Thaiday's selfless act of making himself unavailable due to a calf injury opening the door for the 26-year-old to make his Origin debut.
But rather than being awestruck by joining a Queensland team experiencing an unprecedented period of success, Guerra said he has quickly come to realise the job at hand and the responsibility inherent in pulling on the Maroons jersey.
"Obviously at the start it was a pretty surreal feeling but the boys have made me feel comfortable and emphasised that I need to become a part of this team and they're making it that little bit smoother for me," Guerra said from the Maroons' Gold Coast camp.
"I've sort of realised that I'm here for football, to play rugby league and to represent Queensland, that's a big honour, but the honour's not enough. I want to go out there and prove to the boys that I'm worthy to be there and I'm looking forward to it."
Although the side has only had two training sessions to date – with Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Justin Hodges all missing the morning session – Guerra said that he and coach Mal Meninga have briefly discussed what will be expected from him.
The Roosters back-rower is ready for whatever situation he may be thrust into off the bench but knows the best outcome he can achieve is to not look like the 'newbie'.
"We've spoken briefly about what I need to do on the field but it's pretty simple, I need to do my best and become a strong part of this team," he said. "There can't be any weak links out there in State of Origin football or you're going to get found out.
"[Mal] hasn't spoken to me about specific roles just yet, he's just made it clear of what he expects of me as well as everyone else in the team."
With Matt Scott and Nate Myles the only two regular front-rowers in the Maroons squad, Corey Parker may find himself packing down in the front row during the course of the 80 minutes and has no doubt that Guerra will do whatever the team needs from him.
"When you get the opportunity to wear a Queensland jersey it doesn't matter where you play," said Parker.
"Aidan is such a versatile player, he can fill in the back row, in the middle and if need be go out into the centres. I'm not sure how Mal's going to use him but I'm sure he'll be used in one way or another."
He may have grown up playing for the Brothers club in Townsville but it was only when Origin rolled around each year that Guerra became emotionally invested in games on TV.
NRL games were of just passing interest but when the Queenslanders checked in for their three-times a year appearance on Wednesday night television, Guerra's entire family bought into the spectacle.
"Origin night was always a night where the family got together or we went over to someone's place for a barbecue. It was really the only game I was passionate about watching growing up," he said.
"I didn't really follow any particular NRL side, I just knew that I loved Queensland.
"Earlier on [my favourite player] would have been Gordie (Gorden Tallis) but towards the end there when Michael Crocker was playing I liked the way he held himself and obviously Darren Lockyer's a legend of the game at this level.
"There are so many to pick from and I guess that's what makes it so prestigious."
And why he is determined not to let his state down.