Guerra rejects Pearce offering
He has witnessed the transformation of Mitchell Pearce as a player and person at club level but Maroons back-rower Aidan Guerra says it is up to Queensland to make sure that doesn't transfer to the Origin arena.
Playing on the right edge for the Maroons Guerra will have a number of familiar faces coming at him with Pearce likely to link with Roosters teammates Michael Jennings and Daniel Tupou on the left edge during the game and Boyd Cordner to be stationed there when he comes off the Blues bench.
Having intimate knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses should be something of an advantage for Guerra but any goodwill towards Pearce's recall evaporated quickly after he joined camp in Brisbane on Monday.
Since being overlooked for the Blues team for Game One last year due to an off-field indiscretion Pearce has brought a new-found level of maturity to his football, his undeniable form for the Roosters earning him a 13th Origin appearance.
"As a mate I am pretty happy for him but as a Queenslander I couldn't really care less," Guerra said of Pearce's inclusion at five-eighth.
"He's obviously proven himself at club level and they gave him another crack, it's up to him now and up to us to make it a little bit harder for him.
"I know at a personal level he has really worked on himself and that has come to the fore. You can tell just the way he carries himself it's helped him at club level but it is a different ball game (in Origin).
"He is one of my best mates, he is captain of my NRL club but that is already behind me. I am not too worried about what's happening elsewhere except the Maroons against the Blues."
Twelve months on from making his Origin debut, Guerra is one of few members of the Maroons squad not to have experienced the joy that comes in winning an Origin series.
Despite losing the first two Origin matches in which he played Guerra was one of the Maroons' standouts last year but after a win in Game Three is desperate to share in a series victory.
"It is definitely something I want to be a part of," said the 27-year-old.
"Anyone who plays wants to win. I want to be a part of it because the group here is pretty special. They have been together for a long time so to come in and be the only one who hasn't won a series, it's not the best.
"We tasted a little bit of success in Game Three last year. It's what we can do as a team that will get that trophy back."
Guerra's place in the team for Game One seemed in extreme doubt when he broke his jaw playing against the Sharks in Round 5, the Roosters losing three games on the trot before his return against the Wests Tigers in Round 9.
"The injury itself I got off pretty lightly. It was a pretty clean snap in my cheekbone so once I had the surgery and put it in place there was no real issue," said Guerra.
"I knew if I could be as fit as I could be I would put myself in a position for Mal (Meninga, Maroons coach) to pick me in the side.
"If you miss just three games you can't really call it your worst injury but it was obviously pretty painful. Actually the pain is still pretty fresh in my mind but once it was set and I started training again that was the last time I thought about my cheekbone."