It's been more than a bumpy ride for Mitchell Pearce in the State of Origin arena.
But after training with his NSW teammates for the first time since his recall on Wednesday, coach Brad Fittler is predicting smoother times ahead for the halfback.
Fittler described Pearce as "sharp" as the Newcastle star fitted seamlessly onto the Blues' right edge during their 90-minute training session on Thursday.
If nothing else, the 30-year-old appeared unburdened despite his record of having failed to claim an Origin series win over Queensland in seven attempts.
"He's sharp. I think the familiarity of having James Maloney there and their experience together really helps," Fittler said on Thursday.
"Also Boyd (Cordner)... there's some players here he knows. I think it went really smoothly for our first session."
Pearce threw some pinpoint passes for Tyson Frizell and Tom Trbojevic along their flank, while also practising some midfield bombs.
For most of the session, he and Maloney ran their respective channels.
However, it wasn't until later in the run that the former Sydney Roosters combination mixed things up by roaming to the other's side of the field.
Fittler wouldn't commit to planting each playmaker on their edge, and suggested the pair would have the ultimate decision on how they would run the game.
The Blues have two more field sessions before the captain's run on Tuesday.
"I think they'll work it out. It seemed like it went pretty smoothly then," Fittler said.
"Having the luxury of playing together before, and won grand finals, they'll know each other's strengths.
"We've also got other players there that have got certain skills that can move the ball and do different things.
"It's about getting the best out of everyone."
Maloney, who won a premiership with Pearce in 2013, was also his partner in failed Origin deciders - that same year and again in 2017.
While he wasn't sure how Pearce's Origin failures would impact him on July 10, Maloney is confident the No.7 would shine on Wednesday.
"He's been painted as a scapegoat a lot of times and probably carried the burden that wasn't his to carry," Maloney said.
"(But) he'll go out there, play a blinder, and get to right a few things wrong."
Pearce, who received some advice from Blues champion Andrew Johns throughout the session, said Origin was more than putting structures in place.
"(Jimmy and I are) both ball players so we can mix our roles up," he said.
"(But) at the end of the day, Joey Johns said a really good point: Origin's not won with set plays, it's won with moments and effort and all that sort of stuff.
"While we need to execute that stuff, there's a lot more to the game."