MATT Scott says there is nowhere he would rather be than in the trenches with his Origin teammates.
Usually that might sound like a throwaway line from a rent-a-quote footballer.
However, considering the Queensland prop's predicament, it is a testament to his passion for the maroon jersey.
Scott was a welcome sight at Camp Maroon at Palmer Resort Coolum yesterday after spending five days in his hometown of Longreach with mother Diane.
She is suffering throat cancer.
Scott thanked Mal Meninga and the Queensland coaching staff for allowing him to break ranks to be with his loved ones during a difficult time.
Although no one could blame him for forgoing the Origin cap to be by his mother's side, he said there was nowhere he would rather be than with his Maroons teammates.
He said he had his mother's blessing to play and would harness his inner turmoil when he takes to ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Wednesday night.
"It (the decision to play) was a little bit difficult to make and I love being a part of this team and we've got a massive job ahead of us," Scott said.
"I always wanted to be a part of it.
"Mal and the team, from the start have been very supportive of me and given me a couple of extra days to deal with things."
He said there was no chance he would miss the match and was focused on improving the side's chances after its unconvincing win in game one.
After dominating the opening and closing 20-minute spells of that match, the Blues have bulked up their side for the return clash by including 194cm, 112kg Panthers prop Tim Grant and Manly second-rower Anthony Watmough.
Scott said Grant's presence was a big plus for NSW and the Queenslanders would need to start well or risk having the game taken out of their hands.
"(Grant) has been a fantastic player for a couple of years now and I think every time I've come up against him he's been very tough to handle," Scott said.
"He's a big boy and he's been playing great footy at NRL level."
Second-rower Ashley Harrison, who is suffering a groin problem, is also likely to play despite spending part of yesterday's training session away from the main group.
If he does not recover, Harrison will be replaced by 18th man Corey Parker.