The resurgent Brisbane Broncos could face a mid-season momentum killer with as many as eight players in line for selection in Game One of the Holden State of Origin Series.
The Broncos and Warriors will each carry two-game winning streaks into their clash at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday evening with a host of Brisbane players to use the match to convince Queensland coach Kevin Walters or Blues mentor Brad Fittler that they are worthy of selection.
The omission of James Roberts from the Brisbane team for the third week in a row puts his Origin hopes in severe jeopardy yet there are two Broncos well and truly in the frame to be selected by Fittler in the New South Wales team for the series opener.
It could have been four if Tevita Pangai Junior had not pledged his international allegiance to Tonga and Jack Bird not been injured, but the consistency of Matt Lodge and extraordinary emergence of Payne Haas makes their selection prospects in the eyes of many irresistible.
NSW representatives based north of the border is a relatively exclusive club but one Maroons veteran believes his two club teammates deserve to join the likes of Terry Matterson, Chris Johns, Glenn Lazarus, Michael De Vere, Luke Priddis and Peter Wallace as Blues in Bronco clothing.
"I think they are ready," Matt Gillett said of the prospects of Lodge and Haas.
Toovey and Kimmorley pick their Origin teams
"'Lodgey' has been around for a while now and he has put his hand up to do that role and Payne has come into our side this year.
"He has really showed what he can do out there. He is a powerhouse. We admire what big Payne Haas can do, he never looks tired and gets the job done and carts the ball forward.
"He wouldn't look out of place in a NSW jersey and the same with Lodge.
"They have big engines and make lots of metres."
In his comeback from a serious neck injury that kept him from participating in last year's Origin series – the first he has missed since his Maroons debut in 2012 – Gillett has slowly got back to the form that earned him 18 Origin call-ups for his state.
A certainty to be named in Queensland's back row, the 30-year-old is one of six Broncos whose names could be read out by Walters on Monday.
Like Gillett, winger Corey Oates is all but guaranteed a spot in the 17 but Anthony Milford, David Fifita, James Segeyaro and Joe Ofahengaue have 80 minutes to prove their worth.
Segeyaro could be the beneficiary of a mid-season switch and an injury-ravaged Maroons hooking ranks to earn an unlikely Origin debut while Milford's selection may be dependent on the availability of half Daly Cherry-Evans.
Sixth in the NRL for try assists, Milford's game-breaking ability makes him an obvious selection according to Brisbane back-rower Alex Glenn.
State Of Origin: Rivalry Without Rival
"He's playing some great football for us at the moment so I think it would be stupid not to have him in there," was Glenn's blunt appraisal.
"He's got that X-factor in him. You can play him anywhere in the spine and he'll bring a lot of spark to your side.
"The thing with having 'Milf' is that it's great to have him in the back pocket. You can play him anywhere, he'll perform and he'll put his body on the line."
While he admits that "it is only a matter of time" before Fifita plays Origin, Gillett says having to watch the 2018 series from his couch has given him a new-found appreciation for what it means to represent his state.
"You have a big job to do representing your state and there is no better feeling running out onto Suncorp Stadium with your mates beside you," said Gillett, who will play his 194th game for the Broncos on Saturday.
"It's made me appreciate it more than I ever did. Hopefully I'm back there this year."