Mitchell Pearce has finally tasted State of Origin success after the Blues’ incredible victory.
But he didn’t forget the man whose unfortunate luck paved the way for his return.
Pearce played a crucial role in NSW’s match-winning try at the death, bypassing a number of Queensland defenders to give Tom Trbojevic and Blake Ferguson room to run.
The 30-year-old was recalled to the side after Nathan Cleary went down with an ankle injury in the second game of the series.
But with history against him, Pearce was up against it to succeed in the No.7 jumper.
The 30-year-old had played at least one game in seven different years but he had never won a game three let alone a series.
Until Wednesday night.
“That was a crazy game footy,” he told Channel Nine.
“Look I'm just stoked to be back here. The boys did all the hard work the first two games. Obviously feel for Nath. Nath was a big part of this series.
“To get called back in here, and for the game to finish like that ... that feels so good.”
In a classy move during the celebrations, Pearce ensured Cleary had a hand in lifting the Origin shield.
Pearce said his pass to Trbojevic came simply because NSW had to chance their arm on the last play to avoid golden point.
“I’m just stoked to be a part of it. It’s been a long time coming. There’s been plenty of talk. I’m just proud of the state, proud to be part of the team,” he said.
“I don’t know (if it erases the bad memories). My Origin career’s been up and down but it was about this game tonight.
“To be 30 and brought back into the team for the decider, to do my part for the team, I feel very humbled to be trusted on. I’m just stoked to be here, it’s an unreal feeling.”
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
That Mitchell Pearce pass in the lead up. If you’re not happy for him (and not a Queenslander) you don’t have a heart. #Origin— Scott Bailey (@ScottBaileyAAP) July 10, 2019