NSW forward Tyson Frizell fell short of endorsing a permanent move for State of Origin as an end-of-season option, but has noticed a significant mental switch ahead of Wednesday night's series opener.
Frizell is the second most-capped Blues player behind skipper Boyd Cordner and was one of just three players in NSW's Origin I line-up who didn't feature in this year's NRL Telstra Premiership finals series.
In comparison, Queensland will field seven players who didn't play finals football this year.
Frizell began preparations for his fifth campaign with the Blues last month alongside Dragons teammates and extended squad members Cam McInnes and Zac Lomax, as well as Sea Eagles forward Jake Trbojevic and Brisbane prop Payne Haas.
"I've actually found it to be really good because you can solely focus on this as a continuous series and not have to ride the highs and lows of club footy in between," Frizell told NRL.com.
"That part of playing Origin in the middle of the year can really knock you about, so this change has been good. Most of the boys caught up about a week after the competition finished for us and continued to train.
Match: Blues v Maroons
Game 1 -
Venue: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
"We might not be as match fit as some of the other boys who finished late in the finals but we've definitely put in the work.
"It's been quite a tough start to a normal Origin camp with a bit more time to be able to work on a few things.
"I don't think playing three games in three weeks will change anything too much as we're used to playing week-to-week footy for our clubs but obviously Origin is a different kind of beast.
"Both sides are doing it so we'll adapt, recover well and do our best to prepare ourselves for the game."
St George Illawarra's woes this season were well documented and led to former NSW coach Paul Gallen suggesting no player wearing the Red V should have been included in the Blues side – including Frizell.
However, NSW coach Brad Fittler saw otherwise and spared the 28-year-old the axe, dropping Dragons teammate Paul Vaughan, Knights prop David Klemmer and Sharks back-rower Wade Graham instead.
"I don't feel like an older guy but when I look around I see myself and Boyd who have played 10-15 games for the Blues you realise you're one of the few guys left," Frizell said.
"It only feels like yesterday I was coming in as an 18th man. The team we had was trying to overcome a strong Queensland side who had a lot of depth and now it feels like we're in a similar position."
For that reason alone, Frizell is wary of Queensland's claiming of the underdog tag for this year's series.
Blues v Maroons - Origin I
The Blues surrendered the 2017 State of Origin series after winning the opening game and leading 16-6 midway through the second match on home soil.
"We were in their position two years ago when most of the conversation was about us," Frizell said.
"You can never underestimate Queensland at this level. Players become different players, they rise to another level and you see them at their best.
"It's a level playing field, whoever goes into it best prepared on the night will win."