NSW Origin prop James Tamou credits the tightness of the current playing group and some personal assistance from hooker Robbie Farah for getting him through an exhausting and frantic final 15 minutes in Origin I.
That match, which NSW hung on to win 12-8 despite spending almost the entire last 20 minutes defending their own line from wave after wave of Queensland assault, has been described by many of those involved and by those watching as one of the quickest and most brutal in Origin history.
Speaking to NRL.com at the Blues camp in Coffs Harbour, Tamou said his desire to hang in there for his mates helped him find the energy to keep getting up.
"It was definitely brutal and it was just tough. That last 15 minutes there, every chance I got for a breather I was just on my knees and sucking up the big ones," Tamou said.
"Farah was always in my ear telling me to push up and telling me to keep going, keep going, and that's what got me through it.
"In past games I would have folded easily but just to know that he's trying to help me out I wanted to pay him back by keep pushing up for the boys. That's just the sort of mindset in the camp at the moment.
"In the past I wouldn't have done that but this is a good bunch of my mates and I genuinely care for them and I want to do that for them. It was definitely one of the darkest times on the field but once I came out at the end I was so much better for it."
He said while the team had been happy to hold on for that win, which has given the Blues their best chance of a series win in eight year, they weren't getting too carried away because the series is still on the line and Queensland will be sure to hit back strongly.
"We're expecting that they'll be better. History has shown they'll come back strong so we're expecting that," he said.
"Our mindset is just to go up a gear as well. We did video when we first got in together and there was so much improvement that we could see so we're working on that.
"We've set ourselves up well coming back home [with a chance to wrap up the series] with Game II in Sydney so we're doing all right."
He said there is nothing he'd love more than to share a series win with a great bunch of blokes.
"Coming in to the NSW side you adopt that and to be a part of the team that breaks that would be unbelievable – and to do it in Sydney in front of our home crowd and our home state would be unbelievable. This bunch of boys and the coaching staff, I'd love us to do it for them, they deserve it the most."
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