NSW coach Brad Fittler said Tom Trbojevic was "absolutely deserving" of the Wally Lewis Medal on Wednesday night after a five-star performance across the Ampol State of Origin series.
Trbojevic pipped the likes of Blues teammates James Tedesco and Latrell Mitchell for the award to become just the fifth player from NSW to claim the prestigious honour since 2004.
Trbojevic was well-contained by Queensland in the finale at Cbus Super Stadium but threatened late with a line break to almost hand the Blues a whitewash win.
He joins Craig Fitzgibbon (2004), Anthony Minichiello (2005), Paul Gallen (2014) and James Tedesco (2019) as Blues to have claimed player of the series honours.
Mitchell looked like he may have poked his nose in front when he crossed for a superb solo try in the first half but 'Turbo' did enough according to the judges to cap a remarkable return to the interstate arena after a series of injuries in the past 12 months.
The Manly superstar scored a hat-trick in Origin I as the Blues ran riot in Townsville and crossed again in game two as NSW wrapped up the series.
He finished the series with four tries, 13 tackle busts, three line breaks and a combined 563 metres.
Tom Trbojevic claims Wally Lewis Medal
"Absolutely, yeah, absolutely," Fittler said when asked if Trbojevic deserved the award.
"I wouldn't have been surprised if a couple of players [went close]. It was hard to tell who stood out tonight but I thought there were a lot of blokes working hard.
"With Turbo and Latrell, they did the most damage in the first two games without a doubt. I thought Queensland did a good job on them tonight and had their defence in order."
Trbojevic's heroics in the series opener left former Origin greats across both states marvelling at his ability to roam around the paddock and revolutionise the role at centre alongside Mitchell, with the pair playing fullback at their respective clubs.
"He's fantastic," former NSW great Peter Sterling said of Trbojevic post-match on Channel Nine.
"He played a different position to what we see each week for his club but whatever number he has on his back, especially at this level with elite players, he wants to be around the football and has been all series.
"I thought Queensland controlled him fairly well tonight. The longer the game went, the better he got.
"He was looking to make that difference. He almost did. We saw him set up what would have been a winning try or scored himself.
"A phenomenal series and will go back to Manly and guide them to finals football and they will hard to beat because of his presence."
Tedesco takes to the stage to lift the shield
Despite the personal accolade, Trbojevic was left disappointed with the 20-18 loss but proud of the Blues' efforts in winning their third series in four years.
"Wasn't to be tonight, unfortunate, but that's the way footy goes sometimes,” he said.
"Obviously nice to win the series, but disappointing one tonight.
"We knew they were going to be tough.., there was a period in the game we just didn't have too much footy, couldn't win the field position.
"We still had a chance to win the game late and, you know, just couldn't do it."