Reuben Garrick has been waiting for this chance all his life and his NRL first grade debut couldn't come quick enough.
Thankfully, after years of hard work, the Gerringong Lions junior finally broke through and secured NRL debut, as his Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles took on Wests Tigers in round one.
Garrick credits getting this opportunity to his big pre-season, after making the off-season switch from St George Illawarra to the Northern Beaches.
"I pretty much went up there with [Manly] to play first grade, and so my whole pre-season was focused on that," Garrick said.
"So I really put my head down to be the best trainer I could be - with a particular focus on my defence.
"Heading into round one, I was confident I had done enough to get in the 17 and I had trained for most of the pre-season on the wing with the first side."
Despite having 'an inkling' that he was going to be in the side for round one, Garrick said he was excited when his selection became official.
"I was stoked to be confirmed as a starter against the Tigers," he said.
"I got plenty of messages from my friends and family congratulating me.
"It was all a bit surreal at the time because I knew how hard I'd trained to get this opportunity and to finally get a shot, was a dream come true."
After the announcement, the 21-year-old tried to keep the week as normal as possible.
"I knew I was ready for this chance and tried to not get nervous, as it was just another game of footy," he said.
"So I just prepared myself the best I could to ensure I played as well as I know I'm capable of.
"I tried to make the week not as big as it actually was."
Garrick was presented his debut jersey by Manly legend Steve Menzies, following the club's captain's run.
"It was a huge honour to be given my jersey by someone like Beaver [Menzies], who has achieved everything in the game," he said.
Prior to the game, Sea Eagles backs coach Michael Monaghan, who played 95 games for the Sea Eagles himself, gave the Group Seven product some reassuring words.
"Michael Monaghan said I'd been chosen in this position for a reason and the whole staff had confidence in me and to go out and play your natural game," he said.
"He reminded me to do the little things right, such as my yardage on kick returns and sticking tight on defence."
Garrick, looking back at the 20-6 loss in wet conditions at Leichhardt Oval, said he was happy with how he played.
"I thought I did my job well," he said.
"It was wet and we are constantly on the back foot, as they found the corners well, but I tried to do my role the best I could, to help the team."
Making the occasion more special was the fact a bus of friends and family came up from Gerringong to watch.
"It was massive to have them all come out - they didn't stop screaming the whole time they were there," he said.
"I'm very grateful for all of them."
Garrick is not focusing on the past and is preparing for his battle with the Roosters' Daniel Tupou and Latrell Mitchell on Saturday night.
"It doesn't get much harder than playing against that Roosters' edge, as Latrell is probably the best centre in the game at the moment," he said.
"But as Des [Hasler] has reminded me, all I need to worry is about my own game, such as keeping my backend carries strong and make sure my defence is strong.
"If I can do those two things well, I should be able to hold my spot in the team, which is now the goal moving forward.
"Obviously the debut is nice but the goal posts have now changed and I am focused on keeping my spot in the side."
"I want to become a regular first grader, string some games together and hopefully sign a new contract for next year and beyond."