Cordner The Man Maroons Fear Most

They are preparing to honour their captain as he creates another piece of State of Origin history on Wednesday night but the Maroons' greatest fear is that New South Wales have found a leader to rival Cameron Smith.

Boyd Cordner will be just 24 years of age when he leads the Blues onto Suncorp Stadium for the first time but like Smith he possesses a football maturity that some never achieve in a 15-year career.

Because he is so economical with them Cordner's words count for so much more and he plays the game in such a manner that those around him grow in stature in his presence.

It's a captaincy character trait the Queensland players know all too well and why they believe Cordner's influence will carry much further than mere run metres and tackle efficiency.

"I think they got the right man for the job," said Maroons back-rower and Cordner's Roosters teammate Aidan Guerra.

"There's not too many people that would disagree on that. He's the right man for the job and I'm sure the players will see it that way as well.

"He's one of those guys that, although he's still young, there's no doubting that he's born to be a captain of a footy side.

"I was happy for him when he got named captain of the Blues because you can just imagine he's spent his whole life wanting to play for that side and then gets the call to be told he's the captain would be a special moment for him.

"I'm happy for him, I'm proud of him but at the same time he's on the other side."

Dylan Napa's Origin debut will be the ultimate introduction to the age-old 'mate versus mate' concept as he lines up against the man he says is "probably my best mate".

Since coming into first grade in 2013 Cordner has been an ever-present figure in Napa's career and the man who is just five months Cordner's junior knows the influence he will have on those around him.

"He's probably my best mate at the Roosters and it's probably the best decision that New South Wales could have made," said Napa.

"Not that I worry too much about their decisions but I know appointing Boyd Cordner as captain is the best decision they could have done.

"I wish him not too much luck but I wish him well.

"He's a great leader and an even better bloke. He's a better bloke than he is a player and he's probably the best player in his position in the world.

"That's how high a regard I have for him."

Smith's 40th Origin match will be his 19th as captain and the 10th that Guerra has played under the champion Queensland hooker, and in an ominous warning for Maroons fans Guerra said that his club captain shares a number of leadership traits with the Queensland skipper.

"There are similarities," Guerra said of the two skippers on Wednesday night.

"A leader has got to know the difference between when it's time to be full captain and when it's time to be mates and 'Boydo' is very similar to Cam when it comes to that.

"When it's football it's football but it's not always football, there's that balance between when to switch on and when not to, when to have a laugh, have a beer, it all comes hand in hand.

"[Smith] has been a great footballer for a long time and there are guys in our squad who looked up to him when they were in high school and watching State of Origin and I was pretty much one of them.

"His presence on the field is always felt, whether it's with the ball or without.

"That's the guy that we look to and he's stood up on so many occasions and we'll be counting on him to do it again."

This article first appeared on NRL.com

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