NSW's Mitchell Pearce will get a chance to finally win a State of Origin series during next week's game three decider at ANZ Stadium.
When Mitchell Pearce runs onto ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night and looks across at his opposite number, for the first time in his State of Origin career he won't see a likely future Immortal staring back him.
Having coveted the Origin shield for most of his life, Pearce lines up a chance to finally lay his hands on it after being drafted into Brad Fittler's side for the series decider.
After Nathan Cleary succumbed to his ankle injury, Pearce was brought into camp on Wednesday night and immediately set about attempting to mastermind the Blues' second straight series win.
In what will be his eighth series appearance, the Newcastle No.7 must shake off any mental demons he might be carrying after continually having the finger pointed at him following losses in 2008, 2010-13, 2015 and 2017.
Pearce was routinely blamed during Queensland's era of dominance during which time he went head-to-head with Darren Lockyer, Johnathan Thurston and then later Cooper Cronk.
This time, his halves rivals are Daly Cherry-Evans and Corey Norman. And while neither seem likely to be remembered as some of the all-time greats of the game, Pearce said it didn't make the task any less daunting.
"You can't take anyone lightly," Pearce said.
"The biggest thing I thought after (NSW's 38-6 game two win) was how hard Queensland are going to come back. They always do.
"Historically, how better prepared Queensland have been in deciders. They usually get the result and I'm sure the team has been talking about that for this game.
"Daly Cherry-Evans and Corey Norman are world-class players just like the blokes that were there before them."
A lot will be made of Pearce's past failures in the lead up to the game and he said he was prepared for his past to be dredged up and was comfortable with it.
But having steered Newcastle into fifth spot and within touching distance of a top four NRL finals spot, Pearce said he felt like he had his tail in the air.
"I'm really comfortable in my football and my leadership at Newcastle," Pearce said.
"I feel like I've done a really good job over the last three months to get our team in a really good position as halfback, I take pride in that.
"This moment has come along and I'm going to play my best."