Rookie forward Shawn Blore made an eye-catching debut in Wests Tigers' gutsy 26-16 loss to the Eels on Thursday, showing exactly the sort of toughness coach Michael Maguire craves in his players.
Blore was involved in a running battle with Nathan Brown and not only stood his ground but arguably had the better of the far more experienced and battle-hardened Eel.
"I'm just honoured he even wanted to have an argument with me!" Blore laughed after the game.
"Nathan Brown is one of the toughest players to walk on the field.
"Once he did that, it lit a fire. I'm honoured he even wanted to run it straight at me.
"I went up to him and shook his hand after the game. It was fun.
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"I knew he was coming at me. I knew I put in the work so my physical the contact would have been there. I just had to put my body behind him and what happened, happened."
After one incident in which Brown took exception to a hit from Blore, the Parramatta veteran took the next carry and veered straight at the 19-year-old. Blore stood his ground and stopped Brown in his tracks.
"I thought he was going to get a short ball, I kind of hit him, he didn't get the ball, so I can understand why he got angry," Blore said.
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"He sledged me. I just laughed at him. It was pretty funny.
"He said 'congratulations on the debut' [after the game] which was nice.
"I definitely didn't want to lay down. I was the new kid on the block, I wanted to take it to them and lay a platform and make a statement. I thought I did OK. It's not up to me but hopefully I can hold a spot and build on that."
Blore's debut was stretched to 46 minutes due to a nasty head knock that sent teammate Michael Chee Kam to hospital and an HIA for Sam McIntyre. The Penrith Brothers junior finished with 31 tackles and 48 metres.
It was made even more remarkable by the fact it was his first competitive match in over a year thanks to a knee reconstruction, compounded by the absence of lower-grade games.
"It's been a tough little road coming back from an ACL, there were a lot of doubts," Blore said.
"I was in rehab the whole pre-season. I kind of got lost but Madge picked me up.
"It's been a long time since I've played a game. Once I blew out the cobwebs, I was pretty gassed in that first five minutes but I found my second wind. I knew I put in the work. It's all confidence, it's all in the head."
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It was tough for the Penrith junior to ask coach Ivan Cleary for a release earlier in the year.
"It was weird how it came about. I knew it was always going to be tough getting into that Penrith team," Blore said.
"Madge called me and said there was an opportunity here, and I couldn't knock it back. Ivan was all for it and he understood.
"Penrith was my home, but the Tigers have made me feel like I'm family. That's something I'll never forget. I'm truly part of a family."
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Blore only found out the day before the game that he would be making his debut but still had time to get plenty of family and friends into Bankwest Stadium.
"They told me at captain's run during video. I got pretty emotional," he said.
"They didn't say anything beforehand. Madge got up and said, 'Shawn, you'll be debuting this week'.
"I couldn't hold in the emotions. I burst into tears. A few of the boys shook my hand and embraced me. It was awesome."