It's of little comfort to New South Wales pivot James Maloney but Maroons forward Sam Thaiday has declared his form didn't merit Queensland State of Origin selection this year and reputation alone got him in.
Thaiday admitted yesterday he had a point to prove by Origin game two after underwhelming form for his battling NRL side Brisbane, but few would have predicted his explosive display at Suncorp Stadium.
Maloney was bulldozed aside from the outset as Thaiday cleared a path for Queensland's stunning 26-6 win in Brisbane to level the series going into Wednesday's decider in Sydney.
"It was more of a personal thing for me," said Thaiday, a veteran of 19 Origin games.
"I came from a team that was not very successful this year and was probably picked in that first game on past performances for Queensland.
"I don't think my form was good enough to be selected in the side."
Thaiday was a man possessed in game two, running at Maloney three times in the first two minutes, resulting in an early try for the backrower to leave NSW - and their pivot - shellshocked.
Queensland captain Cameron Smith believed Thaiday's 49-minute performance "answered a few critics".
But Thaiday said: "I wasn't trying to prove anything to anyone but myself. I just wanted to get out there and play a part.
"I think I did three hit-ups in two minutes, no wonder I was buggered.
"But we needed to get a good start to really get us on the front foot.
"I didn't play as much as I would have liked in that second half, especially after I felt I was going really well at the start. But I have a chance in this third game to do a job again."
Thaiday's onslaught reportedly has the Blues contemplating starting Greg Bird at five-eighth in Origin III.
Asked if Maloney could expect more traffic in Wednesday night's Origin decider in Sydney, Thaiday laughed and said: "I think I have gotten smarter over the years and Maloney is a lot smaller than some of their forwards. I would rather run at him all day than [Ryan] Hoffman or [Andrew] Fifita.
"I am trying to preserve my body as much as I can."
After proving a point in game two, Thaiday, 28, feared NSW forward James Tamou could do the same in the decider at ANZ Stadium.
Tamou is the man in the Queensland forward pack's sights ahead of Origin III after the withdrawal of NSW skipper Paul Gallen.
Especially after Tamou also revealed recently that he did not think his form had warranted an Origin I nod.
"I don't think it [Tamou's form] has been that bad," Thaiday said. "He is being pretty harsh on himself.
"He was very good last year, almost unstoppable. It was his breakout year last year.
"[But] he's got a huge point to prove. He's admitted he let the NSW team down [after being dropped for game two over a drink-drive charge].
"He's another player we have earmarked as a 'go to' guy for NSW now their skipper [Gallen] is out."