Tazmin Gray hasn't missed a game since State of Origin started in 2018 but finally got rewarded for flying under the radar by claiming the Nellie Doherty medal on Friday night.
The slippery conditions at Sunshine Coast Stadium suited Gray with her edge running and upper-body strength getting the better of NSW for most of the contest.
Gray finished the game with the most metres by any forward on the paddock, while she was defensively strong with a 96.1 per cent tackle efficiency rate.
"It [the player of the match award] caught me off guard … any game you don't think too much about what you're doing, you just try to get your job done," Gray told NRL.com.
"It feels good but for me, it's not about the medal, it's about the girls and the effort they put in.
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"I played off the back of them. They got me over the line when we had our backs against the wall. I'm just super proud to be a Queenslander."
The sister of Raiders winger Jordan Rapana, Gray had a head-to-head battle with Jillaroos teammate and Sky Blues captain Kezie Apps all night but dismissed the match as the toughest she's ever played in.
"Every time you come up against the best back-rower in the game you want to match it with them but I don't focus too much on Kezie as a player," she said.
Tazmin Gray named Nellie Doherty Medallist
"I know my job and know what I do well and stick to that. I wouldn't say it was the toughest Origin game I've played in but every game is a grind and you could see that in this one.
"It was a mental game. I felt like they had the upper hand for [the] majority of it but we dug deep."
Gray is expected to take a break for the next fortnight before joining the Gold Coast Titans ahead of their inaugural season of the NRL Telstra Women's Premiership.
After stints at the Roosters, Broncos and Warriors to start her NRLW career, Gray was looking forward to settling on the Gold Coast this year and representing her hometown.
"This [Origin] game is a stepping stone to [the NRLW] for many of the girls on the field," Gray said.
"To be able to play in the back end of the year and see the quality in this game. I'm excited to see how all the girls go and what the NRLW puts together.
"I'm just proud of all the girls, it's another mark in history for women in sport."