Blues star reveals horror hip injury
JACK de Belin can attest to two months of hip problems and countless pain-killing injections as the answer to Brad Fittler's NSW motto of "whatever it takes".
The St George Illawarra lock made good on his own promise in the Blues' State of Origin series win on Sunday, after declaring earlier this year he was ready to play on the game's biggest stage.
But the ride hasn't been an easy one since he injured his hip against Melbourne in May, before suffering several setbacks in the weeks leading into game one.
The 27-year-old has been needled to play in every game since, making recoveries difficult and the problem a persistent one.
"It's been tough," de Belin said.
"If you speak to anyone who has ever had them before, they are shit injuries. They just hang around. It's just a time thing, you need time to get them right.
"I swear the needle is one of those things, it's kind of two steps forward, one step back.
"But at the end of the day, I've been saying for so long I wanted to play Origin, so you would have had to have cut my leg off for me not to play.
"I'll happily take a needle every week."
De Belin wants to play for the Dragons on Thursday night against Parramatta but it remains unclear whether coach Paul McGregor will risk him.
He has barely missed a game through injury throughout his career, making the experience even more challenging for him.
"Once I got my head right and got around it, it just didn't matter," he said.
"It's been pretty rewarding to know I can push through that pain barrier and play for my club and state."
De Belin's attitude backs up his claims from earlier in the season, after he was a part of the Blues' extended squad for each game in last year's series loss.
He pulled off a crucial play in defence on Sunday night to force a Ben Hunt error early in the second half before a Blues try, and was later called upon after Boyd Cordner left the field with a concussion.
"As arrogant as I might come across, I knew I was going to get the job done," he said.
"I might not be the most flashy player but I knew I would bring plenty of tough defence.
"I've always said and always believed it. Anyone who has ever played with or against me knows I am made for Origin.
"My game translates well. I'm a team-first player and I will do whatever it takes ... Our team slogan.
"You don't want to come across an Origin tosser, and that's not my go at all. I'm pretty modest. But then at the same time you can only play good club footy for so long."