Jarrod Wallace knew that Kevin Walters was watching.
Sitting high in the stands in commentary for Fox Sports on Sunday, the Queensland coach may have dropped his head when Wallace twice dropped the Steeden early against the Broncos.
As he delves deep into the stocks of Queensland bookends in search of a replacement for injured Origin I debutant Joe Ofahengaue, who is sidelined for a month with a nasty cut to his leg, Walters needs to know he can trust the player he brings in for game two in Perth.
If early errors blotted his copybook the way Wallace finished the Titans’ 26-18 win at Suncorp Stadium may have been enough to convince Walters that he deserves another shot.
There was a desperate chase on speedy Brisbane centre Gehamat Shibasaki when he threatened to break into the back-field midway through the second half, a second desperate lunge jolting the ball free to earn his side possession.
There was the instinctive catch of an Anthony Milford kick and bullocking run to the halfway mark, Wallace later claiming the speed he was travelling meant the ball would inevitably come free as he was taken to ground.
A week ago he chased down runaway Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt and, bolstered by his 236 metres against the Broncos, has averaged 211.5 run metres per game in his four most recent appearances.
If the numbers don’t impress Walters then the "effort areas" should, Wallace adamant he is ready to step up to the plate if called upon.
"I've let him know that I'm always there,” said Wallace, who has played five Origins for Queensland since 2017.
"I've been really happy with my form and now it's up to Kevvie. My goal is to do what I do and what I have been doing for the last six weeks for the Titans.
"That's only going to put me in the circle to be picked. I know that if I'm doing my job here Kevvie's always going to be watching."
After Wallace was overlooked for Origin I, Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan believes the prop has responded in the best manner possible.
"He was hurting about missing out on Origin and I think his form over the last few weeks has probably shown that,” Brennan said.
"You see so many players drop their lip and sulk and go the other way when they have some disappointment but Wal's not that.
"He handles adversity really well. I've never seen a player with things going on, outside noise, to be able to block it out and put in a performance like he does.
"It doesn't surprise me. He's a really good footballer, there's no doubt about that."
There are few greater challenges for an opposition middle forward in the NRL than dealing the Brisbane trio of Matt Lodge, Tevita Pangai and Payne Haas, but Wallace took great delight in getting one up on his old club on their home turf.
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 2 -
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Venue: Optus Stadium
- Nine Network
"We like knocking them off. I especially do anyway,” said Wallace, who ran for 264 metres the first time he lined up against the Broncos in 2017.
"The last six weeks have probably been the best footy I've played in a while.
"I've been really happy with it and I know that I can do it, I just had to get my game-fitness back after getting suspended and things like that."
The Titans are back on home turf on Friday, desperate to build momentum from their upset win over the Broncos, taking on the unpredictable Warriors.