Wayne Bennett's disappointment at Luke Keary not being able to represent the Maroons is tempered by the fact he's got another Queensland-born star in Cameron Munster wearing the No.6 jersey on Wednesday night.
On the eve of game one of the Ampol State of Origin series in Adelaide the well-documented saga of Keary's Origin eligibility was a hot topic at Bennett's final media conference in camp on the Gold Coast.
The Roosters playmaker, who trained in the Emerging Maroons squad in 2012, will make his Origin debut for NSW six years after writing to the NRL asking to be a Maroon.
Bennett said the Ipswich-born Keary was a victim of Origin eligibility rules.
"I went to a meeting about that 10 or 15 years ago because it was a shemozzle then, so what's changed? We had a good meeting though," Bennett grinned.
Match: Blues v Maroons
Game 1 -
Venue: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
"He has been considered for Queensland. I understand the QRL have sent letters away and everything else, but they didn't consider that he should be a Queenslander, so he is playing for NSW.
"If all the other criteria is a bit messy and muddy, I suppose that [place of birth] should be a criteria, but as I said, I was there all those years ago and I felt we made good decisions then about it. We haven't had a lot of problems with it."
Bennett said "maybe it is worth looking at the rules" before adding he was just happy to have Munster in his side after the Storm dual-premiership winner put a nagging knee injury aside to make himself available.
Injuries, Keary eligibility query all the talk on Origin eve
"I think very highly of him as a player and he has been great to have in camp here. He was one guy who reminded me how important it is to play for Queensland," Bennett said.
"He had all the excuses in the world not to come here. I kept getting feedback that he wouldn't make himself available, but I never had that conversation with him. He turned up and is as happy as anyone to be here. We are happy to have him, so it shows to him what it means to play Origin and play for the state."
The Maroons spine has two debutants in AJ Brimson at fullback and Jake Friend at hooker, both at opposite ends of their careers.
"I thought [Friend] had already played for Queensland for some reason but he hasn't. We tried to get him to the Broncos when he was a kid, but he decided to go to the Roosters," Bennett said.
"I have admired what he has done at the Roosters for a long time and I am pleased he is starting.
"He is part of the forward pack we feel we can get some confidence out of because he is a very good pro and he will be doing his absolute best tomorrow night. His best has been good enough to put the Roosters in two grand final wins, so he is a quality player."
Bennett calms young Maroons side
On Brimson, the Maroons coach said the Titans 22-year-old was "one of those ones for the future".
"His form has been outstanding at the Titans and this will be a big step up for him but he has lots of energy and has been pretty impressive at training so I'm confident he won't let us down."
Queensland had an injury scare at training with Brenko Lee and Kurt Capewell suffering strains but Bennett said both were on track to play.
"One guy [Capewell] felt a strain in his groin and the other one [Lee] has pain in his calf muscle," Bennett said.
"They went off as precautionary moves but I talked to the doc and physios and they are confident they will both be OK.
Blues v Maroons - Origin I
"It wasn't serious, Lee just felt something [in his calf]. I expect them both to play.
"It is a big challenge for the centres but I feel Brenko is the best guy to handle it.
"He is football savvy and mature, he also has Felise Kaufusi defending inside of him and he is as good as anyone in the game there."
The Maroons are underdogs but Bennett said he had belief in his team, which contains eight debutants.
"I am confident without being overconfident," he said.
"It's a tough game, Origin, and the other team will be up for it. We have trained well and we have no regrets about what we have done.
"I have faith in the quality of players here. We have been beaten 3-0 in a series before, that can happen, but this is about the present and a little bit about the future as well.
"There are eight or nine new players and another five in the 27-man squad who haven't played Origin so we have to get them up to speed like we did in previous years when we have had these moments over 40 years. We just have to handle it."