ABOUT the only person who hasn't offered New South Wales coach Laurie Daley selection advice on how to save the Origin series in Melbourne next month is the Dalai Lama.
That may only be because the Dalai is a very busy man or, as we all know, Tibet is in Queensland ... right?
But seriously, the Blues hardly touched the football in the second half on Wednesday night, yet conceded just five points to Queensland, which had enough possession to win by 10 or 15.
As it was, the defending champions lost by just one point, thanks to another Cooper Cronk field goal.
Queensland lost game one of the 2006 series by just one point, and went on to win the next eight series, the sequence only broken last year, so all is not lost.
Daley declared straight after the 11-10 defeat he would stick with his beleaguered halves - Trent Hodkinson and Mitchell Pearce - despite their failure under Origin pressure to organise a field-goal attempt in the dying minutes.
It has been a toss-up which of the pair has copped the biggest bollocking.
But just how much notice Daley pays to anyone, except those in his inner-circle is unclear. The answer most likely is, very little.
The big problem for Hodkinson is that he is not the chief shot-caller at his club side, the Bulldogs, so taking control doesn't come naturally to him.
That means if Daley thinks he works well and complements Pearce in the Blues' line-up, perhaps he could swap their roles.
One thing the coach can't do is pull a rabbit out of the hat, because South Sydney's gun halfback Adam Reynolds is still injured.
He could, of course, go completely left field and pick West Tigers rising star Luke Brooks, who is only 20, or even Queensland-born 22-year-old Luke Leary, both great young talents destined to play Origin.
They have only played about 30 NRL games, however, and for that reason are probably not considered ready for the rigours of Origin just yet
But that didn't stop Queensland picking an unknown young halfback from Ipswich to make his debut in 1987.
Nobody knew much about Allan Langer, not even his Queensland teammates who included Wally Lewis and Paul Vautin.
But the diminutive halfback changed that by the end of the series.
Being 1-0 down this time around means Daley will more than likely stick with Hodkinson and Pearce, because to change two such key positions, or even one for that matter, would mean starting all over again.
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