SLUMPED in the corner of the dressing room with an icepack on his left shoulder and dried blood caked around his nose, the latest youngster to wear the famous Kiwis No 7 jersey, Kieran Foran, looked a little worse for wear after his second test appearance during Friday night's 12-8 loss to the Kangaroos.
'You can't fault his bravery. He's a tough little cookie,' says Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney about rookie Kieran Foran.
But no amount of pain was going to cause the smile on the Manly playmaker's face to disappear.
In the build-up to the test Foran, at just 19, had been lauded by some of the game's greats, with Aussie legend Andrew Johns, in particular, declaring he had the potential to be one of the best players in the NRL within a few years.
For most mere mortals, such lofty praise on the eve of just their second test would have made the pressure too hard to handle.
But Foran, who had a solid but not spectacular game, said he hadn't even paid attention to what people had said about him in the build-up to his first test in the halves for New Zealand.
"I didn't read a thing during the week so I didn't really know what was being said about me," he told Sunday News. "I knew people were going to look at how Benji Marshall [Kiwis captain and No 6] and I were going to gel in the halves and that kind of thing.
"But for me it wasn't really about the pressure. I was probably more excited than anything else.
"I was looking forward to playing with Benji and I really enjoyed myself out there with him tonight."
As he walked the 100m from the Kiwis' dressing room to the team bus on Friday night, Foran was congratulated on his performance by Manly team-mate and Kangaroo Anthony Watmough.
"How's The Apprentice?" Watmough declared.
In jokingly labelling him "The Apprentice", Watmough was referring to Foran's new role as halves partner to world-class Kiwis No 6 Marshall. The pair roomed together in the build-up to the test and Foran said his captain had been a huge influence on him.
"He's had a massive influence on me," Foran said. "He's a world-class player, as he showed out there tonight.
"He was so great during the week, helping me with my preparation and keeping my head switched on.
"It was a great experience and I really did enjoy every minute of it. I thought I did my job out there tonight. But at the same time, I will definitely take out of tonight a lot of things I need to improve on so that I can get better.
"It's a fair step up from the NRL. You can't even compare it to an NRL game really."
While there were times on Friday night when Foran showed glimpses of his talent as a playmaker, it was his sheer toughness that left coach Stephen Kearney most impressed.
"There will be a number of guys out there who will certainly learn from the experience but young Kieran Foran will be a lot better for this," Kearney said.
"Obviously, given he was working with Benji, we made a conscious decision for him to room with him.
"I think the more time he has in that position working alongside Benji, the better he is going to be.
"He did everything we asked of him tonight. You can't fault his bravery. He's a tough little cookie.
"The opportunities probably didn't come his way but at times you would look and the second tackle coming out of the red zone we had our halfback ripping into the Aussie forwards.
"I'm sure, given opportunities at the right end of the field – like when we did put on a few moves there – he will certainly be dangerous for us."
As for Marshall, it wasn't the best day he's had at the office in the black jersey. At times he was outstanding but at others his new combination with Foran lacked cohesiveness in wet conditions.
His club coach and Kangaroos boss Tim Sheens conceded Marshall had been below his best on Friday night.
"Benji was really solid," Sheens told Sunday News.
"He did throw the pass for the first try and he kept directing the Kiwis around the park and kept young Foran supported.
"I would think it was a game where he was just trying to get back his confidence and he didn't try to do anything super.
"Let's not forget, the conditions didn't allow a lot of fancy footwork."