Starting his first Origin match at age 31, in front of a sold out ANZ Stadium crowd, could have been overwhelming for Sharks prop Matt Prior, however the two-time premiership winner did the job required in helping NSW claim a series win with an 18-14 victory in State of Origin game two.
Prior was in the NSW run out side and was solid in defence in the first 25 minutes of the match with Queensland enjoying most of the field position and possession as the Maroons built an early 10-0 lead.
The joint Sharks player of the year in 2016 (with Andrew Fifita) then came back on during the frantic moments of the second half, with NSW clinging to a two-point lead, only to have his stint cut short due to coach Brad Fittler looking for a little more mobility due to the sin-binning of James Roberts.
Despite only getting his hands on the football for three carries, Prior's strong defensive work, where he made 23 effective tackles in the middle of the field, his efforts enabling the skill players and outside backs to put the polish on the NSW attacking performance.
On the other side of the ledger, Sharks teammate Valentine Holmes was again on the scoresheet, scoring the first try of the game for the Maroons, while his 200 run metres were easily the most of any player on the field.
As he has been in each of his previous Origin appearances, Holmes was a constant threat, last night benefitting from the service provided by Greg Inglis and the classy touches from Queensland fullback Billy Slater.
Holmes also kicked one conversion from three, with all kicks from within a metre of the sideline.
It was a game with controversy, the usual Origin intensity and a sin-binning which meant the final result would go down to the wire, with NSW holding on for an 18-14 win and a 2-0 series lead.
For more on the game two Origin clash, see the NRL.com match report - CLICK HERE