State of Origin might only be three games, but the shadow of the game's biggest spectacle looms over the NRL for months. Some people are already picking hypothetical sides before the club season begins, and by the time the Origin opener rolls around it dwarfs everything else in the sport.
Some clubs suffer roadblocks during the middle of the season and never recover. Players get hurt in Origin, or star players have a bad game and go off the boil at club level. Missing your best troops for a game or two can end up costing a team a top four, or top eight spot.
But for someone to lose, someone else must win - and there's a few clubs that look set to use this period to trend up, not down - albeit for different reasons.
New Zealand Warriors (Current position: 7th)
New South Wales reps: None
Queensland reps: None
There was a substantial period in the late 2000s and early 2010s where the Warriors would use the Origin period as a springboard for the second half of their season. Go back and look at the five-year stretch between 2007 and their Grand Final appearance in 2011, where they made the finals in four of those seasons. In each of those campaigns, the majority of their wins came in the second half of the campaign.
With Parramatta and North Queensland showing resurgence recently after slow starts, there's a genuine possibility that the top eight from last year are the same teams as 2022, bar the Broncos. The Warriors are the most likely to spoil that party, and took full advantage of a depleted Dolphins team ahead of Origin One.
They had a bye this week, but are set to face a Mitchell Moses and Junior Paulo-less Eels team in a fortnight's time - and while other teams will be feeling the effects of Origin for weeks, or even months, the Warriors will be fighting fit for the run home.
Cronulla Sharks (Current position: 4th)
New South Wales reps: Nicho Hynes (game one)
Queensland reps: None
Sharks fans may be reeling after the perceived disrespect of their reigning Dally M winner Nicho Hynes, who was dropped from the NSW team after game one, but it meant they got an extra game with him in the No.7 jersey this week as they cruised to a win - and there really aren't any other players in the team with a credible shot at an Origin jersey.
Cronulla's strength is their backline; Will Kennedy is a fine player, but isn't going to sniff the NSW fullback jersey. Everyone knows about Ronaldo Mulitalo's Origin eligibility issues, while neither Jesse Ramien or former Blues Siosifa Talakai and Matt Moylan were in contention for spots.
While both Dale Finucane and Cam McInnes were tossed around last week as potential Blues bolters, neither selection eventuated and given their ages, it seems very unlikely that they'd come in for a dead rubber if the Blues were looking to the future, and even less likely they'd replace forwards in a winning side.
Incredibly, they came into yesterday's game against the lowly Bulldogs without a single rep player, and on top of that, an injury to Latrell Mitchell meant that Canterbury's star Matt Burton was ripped away from them at the eleventh hour.
South Sydney Rabbitohs (Current position: 5th)
New South Wales reps: Cameron Murray (games one and two), Damien Cook (game two)
Queensland reps: Jai Arrow (game one)
There was a period earlier in the season where you could have made the case for almost half of the red-hot Rabbitohs team to be getting Origin call-ups. But Latrell Mitchell and Campbell Graham have battled niggles that have seen them miss out, Damien Cook was only welcomed back into the fold after an injury to Api Koroisau, and Cody Walker's bid for a recall was also ruined due to a muscle issue that ruled him out of last week's game against the Dragons.
But while the team the Bunnies trotted out at Kogarah was far from their best, most of the players who were sitting on the sidelines are set to return soon - and most will now be without the rigours of an extra couple of games.
Souths had their first bye of the season this week and will be close to full strength when they take on the Cowboys in a rare Sunday fixture, giving both Cook and Murray plenty of time to back up after Wednesday night.
Keaon Koloamatangi, another Origin hopeful, recently returned from injury while Siliva Havili played his first footy of the year last weekend, and Tom Burgess is also thought to be close to a return. Aside from Jai Arrow, Souths will be raring to go - and barring any changes from Brad Fittler in game three, will come into the final ten or so weeks of the season far fresher than they would have expected.