James Maloney has two weeks to prepare for what could prove to be the defining moment of his representative career.
At age 31, the journeyman has done almost everything in the NRL.
He's the only starting half to have won premierships at two different clubs in the NRL-era.
A drought-breaker, he took the Warriors to their first grand final in 2011 and Cronulla to their maiden title in 2016.
But like most other NSW halves of this era, that State of Origin shield still evades him.
Twice now, Maloney has been in this position. With a 1-0 series lead and a game still to play in Sydney. But in his fourth series, he's still empty handed.
"It'd mean a heap," Maloney said, when asked about winning the series in Sydney.
"I've obviously had a crack at it. The three other times I've missed it's been like two points difference. There's never much in it."
Through all the disappointment though, Maloney keeps bouncing back.
Never was that more evident than on Wednesday night, where he played a role in every point scored in the Blues' 22-12 win, including those notched up by Queensland.
After he threw the final pass for James Tedesco's opening try following some Damien Cook brilliance out of dummy-half, he provided the intercept for former Cronulla teammate Valentine Holmes to score.
After halftime he had a pass called forward and the Maroons scored in the following set to take the lead despite a try-saving tackle from the five-eighth on the previous play.
But the 31-year-old responded. He isolated defenders to help lay on one Blues try, kicked for another and then provided a long cut-out ball for Josh Addo-Carr's match-sealer.
"You're never going to go out there and have everything go your way. That's the reality of things," Maloney said.
"You've got 80 minutes and if you can have more positive plays than negative plays than you're going to have a positive effect on what you've done for the side.
"You don't know how the game is going to go but you can guarantee it won't all go your way.
"But that's footy. You roll with the punches as it happens and go back to what you've got to do next."
It impressed Fittler, who publicly questioned Maloney's defence last month, sparking questions of if he'd be overlooked.
"I don't think many people have (James' temperament)," Fittler said.
"It's an incredible weapon, especially when you get behind in a big game with a lot of rookies in your team."