CARDIFF - Veteran Brent Tate was clearly relieved after securing the hotly-contested centre position alongside Greg Inglis for Saturday's opening Rugby League World Cup clash against England.
But almost as soon as coach Tim Sheens' decision was announced the comeback kid was already talking about the pressure to hang on to the jersey.
Five years ago Tate feared he would never play in another world cup as he tried to comprehend the Kiwis' 34-20 boilover in the decider, which he sat out due to injury.
Now he's back and will start at Millennium Stadium early Sunday morning beating out in-form Michael Jennings and Josh Morris to the centres spot vacated by injured star Justin Hodges.
"Obviously I'm stoked to be here, it has been a long, tough journey," the 31-year-old told AAP.
"There's been plenty of doubts and questions that I've had to ask and answer along the way but I'm back here now and I'm really happy to be a part of this."
Tate made his international debut against Great Britain in 2002.
"So for me to get back here after what I've been through is something I'm really proud of," he said.
The North Queensland back expects tournament co-hosts England to test the Kangaroos physically.