Ryan Matterson was placed on standby to make his State of Origin debut in Perth on Sunday night as NSW physiotherapist Liz Steet worked all day on a neck injury sustained by Tyson Frizell picking up his baby Axton in the Blues team hotel.
Frizell gave no sign of how close he was to missing the match as he played the full 80 minutes and produced a barnstorming performance in NSW's 38-6 demolition of Queensland before an Optus Stadium record crowd of 59,821.
However, the St George Illawarra second-rower later admitted as he held a nappy in the Blues dressing room that he was genuinely worried about not being able to play after a visit by wife Samantha and six-month-old Axton.
"It was a bit sore in the morning and I picked up the young fellow, and a couple of minutes later it seized up pretty bad," Frizell said. "I was just carrying him, throwing him around and once I said goodbye I realised my neck was sore.
"I just had a lot of treatment pretty much the whole day. I was worried, I knew it would come good but I wasn't sure how quickly it would happen."
NSW officials revealed that Matterson had been on standby for Frizell and he would have started at right second-row.
However, Frizell managed to take his place and was one of NSW's best players after playing just 40 minutes in the series opener.
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"It's sore now but it is fine. There is no major issues there, it is just a bit of pain but it will settle down in the next few days," he said.
"The adrenalin gets you through a lot of things, I am not tough or anything like that. It was sore at stages but it was just a small issue I had to get through and I am just happy that we performed well as a team.
"It was the first 80-minute performance in Origin and I have only played 80 minutes once this year. I probably wouldn't have survived if we didn't play so well."
Frizell played on the right edge inside centre Tom Trbojevic, who scored three tries. Frizell also scored a try in the 19th minute.
"Him and Tedesco were unstoppable tonight, they are guys you want in your team and they passed to each other a couple of times to score tries," Frizell said. "We needed them badly tonight and they stood up.
"We knew how much we copped during the week with the squad that we had and we had belief in the squad that we could perform well.
"Collectively as a team we all chipped in and played our part. Everyone did their job really well and that is why we won tonight."