Game one of State of Origin is fast approaching.
The squads have just been named and NRL coaches are starting to prepare for a potential absence of their star players.
The Newcastle Knights are boasting three representatives.
Kalyn Ponga for the maroons and David Klemmer for the blues, with Tim Glasby 18th man.
Nathan Brown admits he wasn’t surprised by the trio’s selection.
“Klem has been a bit of a mainstay for NSW for a period,” Brown said.
“Kalyn showed with his game, that he was going to take over from Billy, I think we all expected that.
“Glas has been there for the last couple of years, so was hopeful of Glas getting selected.
“He’s 18th man so hopefully some cards fall his way and he gets to play.”
Most expect Ponga will dominate for Queensland.
“I think he will definitely go in with confidence,” commented Brown.
“He’s a pretty laid-back type of kid and will respect the situation he is in.
“Last year he played out of position and did very well.
“He’s going to play with Cherry Evans who’s in great form, and Munster who’s in great form, and Ben Hunt always seems to play well at dummy-half.
“He’s got plenty of blokes in the team who can create room and opportunity for him.
“He’ll be a good acquisition for Queensland for a long period of time.”
While being selected is an honour for players, it can be a tricky time of year for coaches.
They need to prepare to navigate the possibility of injury or deciding whether to rest star players.
With an injury already to hooker Danny Levi, it makes that even harder.
“It can cause a bit of a problem with our plans coming into Origin series,” said Brown.
“What we do with Klem and KP after Origin, we haven’t discussed that.
“We haven’t spoken to the players; we want them to go and play well for Origin.
“We’ll prepare as if they’re not playing and then we’ll see what unfolds.”
At least there’s plenty of talent to back up.
“We’ve got Kingy (Josh King) who’s playing well and young Pasami (Saulo) and Jacob (Saifiti) are coming back so we’ve got to take a look at our squad and see how they come through the game,” added Brown.
And despite a few Knights which have been in career best form but missed out, Brown knows a call up could still be on the cards.
“We’ve got (Mitch) Pearcy playing well and Jesse (Ramien) and Edrick (Lee) are probably two outside backs who are starting to get mentions for NSW and Queensland,” he said.
“It’s a long series so hopefully players like Jesse and Edrick can keep playing well and put their name forward.
“Injuries happen and form changes.
“Hopefully they come back after the break and keep playing well, improve and the team keeps going well and their names keep getting mentioned because the more you have in those sides, the better you’re going.”