He was there on the sidelines cheering as much as a man on crutches can without toppling over but deep down Josh McGuire wondered whether his sideline stint in Queensland's record-breaking win in Game Three last year would be his last.
Having been a member of the Maroons for the first two games of the series, McGuire was confined to the role of cheerleader in the decider having ruptured his Achilles tendon while playing for the Broncos against the Knights.
Eleven months on and he has come back a smarter and leaner player than before and said that the lure of another Queensland jersey was a major motivator throughout the torturous rehabilitation process.
"In retrospect you can look back now and have a bit of a joke about it but when you're a young footballer you don't know when you're going to have your last opportunity to play Origin footy," McGuire told NRL.com.
"I was more filthy that it was taken away from me because of injury and not because of anything else.
"I didn't want to end on that note. I didn't want my football career to go backwards after that.
"I feel like I'd just started to reach a level in my career where I knew I could improve and I could be better.
"I was just really filthy on the world at the start to be honest. I wanted to come back and I wanted to prove to myself that I could play at this level and be comfortable here and play some good footy.
"It made me want to train hard and have a big year and this was definitely my goal coming back this year, to hopefully get an opportunity to play in Origin again and then once I get here hopefully keep my spot."
Such has been McGuire's start to the season with the Broncos that the 26-year-old first earned a maiden Test appearance with the Kangaroos before being named by coach Kevin Walters in the Queensland team for Game One on Tuesday night.
For teammates such as Corey Parker who had seen him come back from adversity with such determination, selection in representative teams served as recognition for his dedication to his training.
"I was probably as excited as he was when I found out he was in the Australian team," Parker said.
"They're just goals and achievements that as individuals you try and set yourself so for him to achieve that, I was really happy for him.
"He's 26 years old now and I still think he's got his best footy in front of him.
"The way the game has changed in terms of the interchange suits him, he's got a big engine for a front rower, he's very strong and he's quick."
Now a father of two, McGuire said that having his daughter Maiya to take his mind off his recovery and the support of his wife Tanyssa helped him to mentally cope with having his footy career put temporarily on hold as the Broncos went all the way to the Telstra Premiership Grand Final.
"Home life probably got me through it to be honest," said McGuire.
"My family is the most important thing to me and I can't thank them enough for being patient with me because there were good days and bad days but I look back now and it was all worth it.
"I was thinking about playing at the highest level because you want to give your family the best you can and playing at the highest level is only going to help your worth at market and how you are as a player.
"I want to provide for my family and give them the best possible upbringing for both my kids and my wife."