Ennis a misunderstood 'menace': Parker
Five years ago a high shot in an Origin encounter cooled the friendship of Michael Ennis and Corey Parker for a few days but the Queensland veteran says his good friend is simply misunderstood.
Ennis is in line to return to the Origin arena for the first time in four years on Wednesday night where he will not be concerned by the sins of the past but of contributing to a New South Wales Series win, something he is yet to experience in seven previous games for the Blues.
The protracted saga surrounding Robbie Farah's broken hand – not to mention Ennis's own awkward imposition of a one-game suspension – continued into the eve of the match when NSW coach Laurie Daley said that Farah would be given as long as possible to prove his fitness.
Ennis has been in camp with the Blues in Coffs Harbour since Thursday as cover for Farah who would need to complete one of the great comeback stories of Origin folklore to play just seven days after major surgery on his right hand.
The story goes that when Ennis put one on Parker's chin in Game Two of the 2011 Series – a game in which the Blues levelled the Series with an 18-8 victory – Parker refused to speak to him for two days.
Consider that both were best man at each other's wedding and that they are each godfathers to the other's children and you get an understanding not only of how the 'mate against mate' mantra of Origin can take its toll but of how competitive the pair both are.
Teammates at the Broncos from 2006-08, Ennis and Parker have only crossed paths at Origin time in the three games of the 2011 Series and Parker said he is pleased to see his good mate get another shot on the game's grandest stage.
"It's funny how football works sometimes," said Parker, who spent five years in the Origin wilderness himself. "You just keep plodding away doing your job and hoping and wishing at some stage that you might get another opportunity: this is his opportunity so I'm sure he'll do a fine job for them.
"I think he's been in great form for Cronulla and he's been in that arena before. He's tough and he's always at you so I think he fits the mould quite well."
Queensland players have made it clear in the build-up to Origin III that they won't be drawn into any niggling tactics by the Blues as they were in Game Two in Melbourne.
The possible addition of Ennis to the Blues' squad would seem to make that aim even more challenging but Parker says that the man they call 'Ennis the Menace' is simply misunderstood.
"He's very misunderstood, largely due to you guys [the media] at times," said the 33-year-old.
"We can all be misunderstood but he's one of those guys that you hate to play against but love to play with and there are a lot of those people out there.
"Playing hooker and getting his hands on the ball 100-odd times a game, you need someone with a bit of nous and he's certainly got that.
"From our point of view [sledging] doesn't do us any good. We can't control what they're going to throw, it's more about controlling what we can do and our process and what we've worked on so that's going to be one of our main objectives."