Gold Coast captain Ryan James has cast aside his "gutting" 11th-hour Origin snub to underline his value if NSW coach Brad Fittler needs back-up.
In a nightmarish series of events, the forward had started packing his bags after being informed he had made the Blues' 20-man squad, only to then be told he was no longer required.
Fittler's forward pack then produced a dominant performance in a 22-12 series-opening win to shore up their spots and keep the luckless Titan on the outer.
James has long been a fringe Blues candidate but is yet to taste Origin and only injury looks likely to change that this year.
"I was gutted at the time, but there's worse things in the world that can happen than not make an Origin side," he said.
"Obviously it's a childhood dream come true (to be selected), so to have it snatched at the last minute is gut-wrenching."
The 26-year-old was able to quickly shrug off the disappointment, almost dragging his NRL side to a much-needed win on Friday night.
James scored twice from powerful, close-range runs and laid 49 tackles in arguably his best performance all season as the Titans fell 18-16.
"Ryan showed today how he dealt with it," Titans coach Garth Brennan said.
"It's a pretty crack NSW pack too, but Dark (James) is close.
"If there's an injury in their pack the bloke alongside me can do a fantastic job and I know Freddy (Fittler) knows that."
Australian Associated Press