South Sydney star Cameron Murray has revealed how master coach Wayne Bennett helped him through a self-proclaimed slump as he backed up from State of Origin.
Murray showed a glimpse of why Andrew Johns tipped him as a future Australian captain as he set up a late try before scoring himself in last week's NRL win over North Queensland.
It continued a breakout season from the 21-year-old lock, who played all three games in his maiden Origin series during NSW's successful shield defence.
However Murray said his impressive showing against the Cowboys was simply a step in the right direction after what he believed was a poor run at club level.
"I don't think I was playing anywhere near the level I was before Origin," Murray said on Tuesday.
"Obviously I'm a little bit of a stress-head when it comes to that and Wayne was good for that. He said, 'You're not going to be perfect. It's your first Origin series.'
"'It's your first time you've handled something like that.'
"So I tried to relax, trust in the process, trust in Wayne and the coaching staff here and the players around me who had been through it and offered me some advice.
"On the weekend I think it was a step in the right direction for me."
Murray, who is in his first year as an established NRL starter, admitted he had learned plenty about the experience of backing up through the Origin period.
He has also yet to miss an NRL game he has been available for this year.
"It was tough for me coming from the highs of Origin and coming back to clubland, only having a few days rest and trying to back up for the club," he said.
"But it's all over. It's just good to focus on clubland now.
"It'll definitely be something that I'll be better off for in the future and when the time comes, I'll reassess and work out what I did right and work out what I did wrong and try and be better for it next year, hopefully if it comes around.
"I think this is the first game that I've really felt comfortable back in the red-and-green. My fitness and my cardio levels felt the best I've felt over the last month or so when it comes to playing for the club."
League Immortal Johns recently predicted the Rabbitohs forward would skipper NSW within five years. And the Kangaroos captaincy would follow soon after.
"It's good to be getting wraps from people as prestigious as Joey Johns," Murray said.
"But my job doesn't change. The player I need to be and the player I want to become doesn't change. The journey to be that player doesn't change."
"You don't get those type of wraps unless you're playing good footy week in, week out."
© AAP 2019