Mitchell Pearce could have been forgiven for thinking about himself after finally tasting victory in a State of Origin series in 12 years on Wednesday night.
In his eighth series, the 30-year-old halfback finally laid his hands on the shield after the Blues' thrilling 26-20 win over Queensland at ANZ Stadium.
After having the finger pointed at him following series losses in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017, it was the ultimate redemption for the much-maligned star.
And in a moment of absolute class that showed a new level of maturity, Pearce made sure the man he replaced in the NSW No.7 jersey shared his moment with him.
Pearce grabbed Nathan Cleary and made sure he was on stage as the Blues celebrated with the shield after full-time.
The injured Cleary had featured in the first two games for NSW, but couldn’t take part in the decider.
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Other players also made sure Tariq Sims was on stage, the second-rower suspended for the game.
Fans noticed the gesture and took to social media with praise for Pearce.
Mitchell Pearce with a huge impact to win the game. Doesn’t make the narrative about himself post match and then grabs Nathan Clearly and drags him onto the stage as they lift the trophy.— Doug Kors (@dougkors) July 10, 2019
10/10 good bloke moment #Origin
Mitchell Pearce dragging Cleary into the team photo. What a champ #Origin— Tracy (@TracyBsays) July 10, 2019
Pearce pulled Cleary into the team photo and my heart burst it was so full— Emily (@Emilyrenee_13) July 10, 2019
Nice touch with Pearce next to Cleary and the wrongfully suspended Sims in the shot too..— Mark (@MarkD_KL) July 10, 2019
Mitchell Pearce all class. Pays tribute to Nathan Cleary. #Origin— Observer (@rugby_whisperer) July 10, 2019
Pearce’s pivotal role in match-winner
With the scores locked at 20-20 and with the game looking set to go to golden point, Pearce fired a long ball for Tom Trbojevic, who in turn put Blake Ferguson into open space.
And when James Tedesco crossed with the final play of the game, Pearce finally sealed his place as an Origin winner.
"I didn't expect the game to get to that situation where the game was 20-all," Pearce said.
"I thought we played really well for the 20-30 minutes after halftime.
"We created a lot of opportunities and we couldn't land the final punch out.
"There was a lot of linebreaks, a lot of good footy, it wasn't ideal. I just saw Turbo out there, I didn't do much at all. Fergo is an athlete and Teddy finished it off."