IT'S that time of the year.
Our allegiances are made clear and the line in the sand (otherwise known as the Queensland-New South Wales border) is redrawn.
For some, it's just another night.
For others it is an excuse to drink beer, eat pies or pizza and get all rowdy.
But then there are those for whom this represents one of three nights in the year to see rugby league at its finest - a display of the best talent and skill.
These are the players at the peak of their game.
They are legends before they even run out onto the field.
Men want to be them, kids look up to them in awe. And don't those lovely tight jerseys do them all proud! (Sorry fellows. Ladies, there has to be something in it for us!)
Seriously though. This is the stuff dreams are made of.
As the proud mum of an aspiring under-8 rugby league star, I am reminded with great excitement of the significance and importance of tonight.
This is not an event to be taken lightly.
There will be cheers, tears and tantrums (and that's just in front of the TV).
There will be jubilation and sorrow - heartbreak even, for some.
But it's that passion that makes it so great.
It's also that passion, taken out on a footy field in Melbourne in front of tens of thousands of screaming, adoring fans, which makes this country so special.
It's what makes us tick.
With all due respect to the New South Welshmen (and women) among us - and we know there's a few of you around the region - for Queensland, tonight is all about continuing a stunning legacy born out of victory and time-honoured strength.
Plagued with illness, (gee, a Queenslander catching cold in Victoria - who would have thought it!?) our side will take to the park with victory on their minds.
They might feel as crook as a pack of old dogs but there is nowhere they would rather be.
They'll run onto the field, they'll try their hearts out.
They'll rise to that next level and find within themselves the kind of skill and drive that makes a champion.
Then, when all is said and done, whatever the result, they'll walk away knowing they have given it their all.
There'll be nothing left. Spent and exhausted they'll be heroes and they'll continue to stoke the dreams of youngsters by reaffirming their aspirations.
Tonight we are set to see some great footy, but it's more than that. It's a tribute - not just to the calibre of talent in the national ranks - but, at the community level, to the kids, the coaches, the linesmen and women, the referees, the volunteers, the managers, the parents.
That's what it's all about.