If there is one person in rugby league more deserving of a State of Origin series win than Mitchell Pearce, Ricky Stuart would love to hear their story.
Pearce will draw level with rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns as NSW's most-capped halfback in history when he takes the reins at Sydney Olympic Park on Wednesday night.
Eighteen times he has taken to the field in sky blue for five wins - none of which came in a series decider.
Canberra Raiders coach Stuart says Pearce has been a scapegoat for frustrated NSW fans during Queensland's era of unprecedented dominance of State of Origin.
Stuart stuck solid with Pearce as his halfback during his second stint as Blues coach in 2011 and 2012, and in both years the Maroons escaped with a victory in game three to clinch the shield.
Often it was the much-maligned Pearce in the firing line following those defeats, but Stuart is quick to leap to his defence.
Never before had we seen a State of Origin team like it - six of the game's greatest came together in maroon.
Among those all-conquering sides were the likes of Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Darren Lockyer, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Greg Inglis.
In Stuart's eyes, never again will we see one team like it.
"He's got a little bit of unfinished work there, and there will probably be no hungrier player than Mitchell to try to get an Origin series win," Stuart said.
"If there is a player in the game that deserves an Origin series win, it's probably Mitchell.
"He's probably been unfairly labelled for a lot of other series losses that came against a football team, [the likes of which] that you will probably never see as good as again.
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"He got unfairly labelled through the results, it wasn't just all about Mitchell Pearce. There were a lot of close losses and a lot of games that NSW just lost series in.
"It's unfair to say it was Mitchell Pearce's fault. We'll never play against another Queensland Origin team as good as that era ever again."
It is shaping as rugby league's finest redemption tale - one bereft of booze bans or controversy, and of those there are many.
It is simply a matter of what is happening on the field - where it all matters.
Pearce knows it will be his face plastered across newspapers and on television screens come Thursday morning, win or lose. But where he once may have struggled, he is now at peace with that.
The 30-year-old will link up with James Maloney in the halves for the Blues as he mounts a bid to break the shackles. They are a proven combination having guided the Sydney Roosters to a premiership in 2013.
Question marks have hovered over which man will be the man as the Blues set their sights on winning back-to-back shields for the first time in 14 years.
Which man will shoulder the responsibility of helping Jack Wighton etch another chapter in his stunning turnaround? Which man should Josh Papalii set his sights on shutting down by way of the Queensland front-row?
Blues coach Brad Fittler has revealed Pearce has taken a backseat to Maloney at training amidst calls the Penrith playmaker should be the one steering the ship as he did in game two's 32-point massacre.
"They've obviously got a little bit of knowledge of one another in regards to the combination they had at the Roosters," Stuart said.
"That will certainly help Brad with a quick preparation for one game of footy."