IN A worrying sign, former Maroon Ben Ross admits he is "scared" of the damage the Blues' front row is capable of inflicting on Queensland in Origin I in Sydney next Wednesday night.
With James Tamou, Aaron Woods and Andrew Fifita set to unleash their wrath on the boys from north of the border, Ross makes a fair point.
However, in spite of the form, agility and youth of the Blues' hard hitters, Ross reckons Queensland's Matt Scott (pictured), Nate Myles and debutant Josh McGuire have the ability to stop them if they work as a unit.
He doesn't think it will be easy though.
"Fifita is a good mate of mine and he is amazing at what he does and is so energetic for a front-rower and Aaron Woods is exactly the same," Ross said.
"Those guys can play 80 minutes if they have to and are that type of forward.
"But the Queensland front row has been the best in the game for the last eight years or so, which will be boosted by McGuire, who is a little more energetic forward."
Woods has been hosed by the Queensland media this week over his Origin performances, with the Tigers' prop making an average of 50 metres, compared to his NRL average of 185m.
"You have to realise that Origin is a totally different game and is a test of the toughest - a bash-up for the first half of the game," Ross said.
"YOU are just trying to bash the opposition, which is why I think the front-rowers' metres are right down."
One department where New South Wales is lacking is in the backs.
On paper the Queensland backline reads like a greatest hits compilation from the Beatles.
Even if the Blues' forwards dominate, Ross reckons there is enough strike power in the Maroons' backs to get the job done well.
"If Queensland's forwards don't go forward the backs can win it," Ross said.
"If we can defend them and cut out their points they (the Blues) are not going to win."
Ross points to the experience of the entire Queensland unit, whose average age is 29, as a possible catalyst for a Queensland victory.
"Queensland have picked an experienced side that has played together for years, which is different from picking the best players based on form," he said.
"You compare the two sides together and it's all Queensland and I know they will win."
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