Crowning glory - Casino?s Matt King joins the ranks of Origin royalty
By STEVE SPINKS
IT was as NSW winger Matt King was cleaning out his bag in his Melbourne flat yesterday afternoon that the enormity of Wednesday night's State of Origin victory hit him.
It wasn't that the Casino boy hadn't taken in NSW's record 32-10 victory over Queensland.
Or that he was completely thrown by scoring three tries on the Blues right wing.
In amongst the rubble of dirty footy boots, shorts and socks were a couple of treasures that really rammed home what a special match the Origin decider had been.
"I was cleaning out my bag about half-an-hour ago," King told The Northern Star.
"And I found the ring they give to the players for winning. I also found the Brad Fittler award.
"It's a pretty special time in my life. I struggle to put my feelings into words.
"It's been a massive roller-coaster ride and it's been that much fun.
"All the accolades I've been getting have made it pretty special."
King speaks with the rapid-fire delivery of someone who is talking about something he is excited about.
And why wouldn't he be?
The former Marist Brothers player was only the sixth man in Origin history to score three tries in a match and only the third Blues player to do it.
The other two NSW players being Chris Anderson and Ryan Girdler.
But further honour awaited the Melbourne Storm centre after the match.
He was awarded the inaugural Brad Fittler medal as NSW's player of the series by coach Ricky Stuart.
"We didn't even know about the medal until after the game," King said.
"I was sitting next to Matt Cooper when we were told about it and he said 'get ready'.
"But you know how it is when you're at an awards night. You always think someone else will get it.
"But when I was presented it by Brad Fittler ... it was the biggest thing in my life.
"I'm ecstatic just thinking about. I'm going to get the medal and the ring and case them up and put them in the loungeroom."
No victory is complete without a celebration afterwards and NSW enjoyed their night out in Brisbane.
"It was fun times," King chuckled.
"It's the side of Origin you don't get to see.
"Sitting around with some good fellas talking about life and footy. "It's one of the best things I'll take away from Origin."
The 24-year-old likes to downplay his chances of being picked for the end of year Kangaroo tour.
But it's in the back of his mind.
"Every Tom, Dick and Harry was asking me about it last night (Wednesday)," King laughed.
"It was killing me. But to represent the green and gold is the pinnacle and to make a Kangaroo tour would be a massive notch on the belt."
King knows there's plenty of football to be played before then.
But no-one could argue that he wouldn't be up to the task. Three-try Origin hero, Brad Fittler medallist ... his record speaks for itself.