After playing just 17 minutes in the dying stages of New South Wales' 44-12 victory over Queensland last start, you could forgive Siosifa Talakai for thinking he could get the axe for the decider, especially with Jack Wighton the mend.
The Sharks centre was a controversial pick on Brad Fittler's bench for the second game of the State of Origin series, and while Freddy's men ran riot in a 44-12 victory over the Maroons in Perth, question marks still hung over Talakai's head for the decider.
Especially after Latrell Mitchell ruled himself out, it would've been easy for Fittler to drop either Talakai or Stephen Crichton in favour of Wighton for the decider, though the Canberra five-eighth will instead take the role of 18th man heading into this weeks clash at Suncorp Stadium.
Even Talakai admits he thought his spot was as good as gone.
“If I missed out it didn’t bother me. It’s Jack Wighton, a quality player, a freak and he deserved that spot. I was just going to go back and focus on my job at the Sharks," the Cronulla centre told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Freddy made the call and I’m happy he’s got confidence in me to do my job and that’s pretty big leading into a big game. I’m grateful I got the call-up and I just want to make the most of it again.”
Talakai shot to stardom with a dominant 40 minute stint against Manly earlier this year, the former Rabbitohs' 'I've arrived' moment in the top grade, a moment that certainly caught Fittler's eye.
Admitting he wasn't sure how to use Talakai last game, Freddy is still undecided on where he'll play him in the decider, however Sifa is certainly not opposed on a move to the middle.
“I’m happy to do that, it just means I’ve got to tackle more. We haven’t really spoken about a game plan yet and what position I’m going to be playing or for how long, but whatever call Freddy makes I’m happy to do that," Talakai said.