Nate Myles failed to answer his State of Origin critics however his Queensland teammates have leapt to the defence of the under-fire Maroons prop.
After the Manly veteran had his place in the side questioned going into the series opener at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night, he produced a lukewarm effort in Queensland’s 6-4 win.
Playing in his 30th Origin match, he ran for just 70 metres from eight carries and made nine tackles, according to Fox Sports Stats.
As well as his limited involvement, he was smashed by Blues enforcer James Tamou in the first half.
However Maroons teammate Aidan Guerra described the 30-year-old as the heart and soul of the famous side and pointed to his longevity in rugby league’s toughest arena.
“He’s a guy who’s been there and it was his 30th Origin,” Guerra said.
“You can’t write a bloke like that off. He’s a guy who’s always given his all and I think he’s the heart and soul of Queensland and it really shows what we’re about.”
In the lead-up to Origin I, he was described as “Nate Mild” by a Sydney newspaper and even admitted he was lucky to hold his place in the team, following Manly’s lacklustre start to the season.
While Myles did not make any glaring errors, he was also well below his best as the Kevin Walters era got off to a winning start.
However Guerra said Myles had a habit of stepping up during Origin and was the kind of player he wanted alongside him.
“Full credit to him at club level. But at Origin level he’s certainly something else,” Guerra said.
“He’s showed that over 30 Origins, that’s 10 years and I reckon you wouldn’t be able to name too many games when he didn’t play well. That’s the man he is and that’s why we worked hard for him tonight.”