Manly officials wanted Martin Taupau to rest and beat jet lag before he insisted on helping Manly upset NRL premiership contenders Penrith 18-10.
Just two days after being the last man to land back in Sydney following last week's Denver Test, the Sea Eagles prop made 128m and five tackle busts in his 36 minutes at Panthers Stadium on Saturday.
Instead of a week of rest, Taupau visited team officials after he landed on Thursday and trained with the team on Friday, adamant he wanted to play.
"To Marty's credit, he put up his hand straight away," Manly high-performance manager Dan Ferris said.
"We wanted to give him some extra time off, have a sleep in on Friday, but he said he wanted to get as much preparation as he could. He put his hand up.
"In the end, it was more mental. We knew he was going to be quite fatigued. We knew he was going to be not fresh mentally ... For him to come out and put on the display he did today, it was quite incredible."
After doing his recovery with the Kiwis on Sunday morning in Denver, the team's flight was cancelled due to a storm.
He was booked on another flight the next day but it was again delayed due to mechanical issues and he found himself landing in San Francisco early the following morning.
It meant he missed his connecting flight to Sydney so he didn't finally land home until Thursday morning, Australian time.
"When you normally have an international flight, it takes about two days to get through it," Ferris said.
"The biggest thing for Marty is in terms of coming in late. He missed his week's prep ... Essentially, he was two days behind, which basically means it was quite rushed."
But his performance on Saturday won plenty of credit from teammates, with captain Daly Cherry-Evans praising his efforts after a tumultuous week.
"He had a decision to make and the fact he chose to play just shows how much he cares about playing rugby league and playing for Manly," he said.
Taupau will be given the back end of next week off in return after he admitted last week's Test for New Zealand against England in high altitude was one of the most taxing games he'd played.