THE whirlwind season of Gerringong's Reuben Garrick continues.
The Manly-Warringah winger made his senior Australian debut with the Prime Minister's XIII last week and is set to don the green and gold twice more in the coming weeks.
On the back of his 26 appearances for the Sea Eagles during his debut season, in which he scored 16 tries and kicked 65 goals, the Lions product was named in three different representative sides - highlighting the enormity of his breakout season.
"The whole year has been a whirlwind and very surreal - I haven't had a chance to reflect on it yet," Garrick said.
"I've just tried to take each day as it comes and enjoy every opportunity that comes my way.
"At the start of the year, I was just concentrating on making my debut - Australian honours like these weren't even in my wildest dreams.
"Being named in one Aussie team would have been a massive honour but to have the chance to play in three national teams in a month is going to be amazing - I plan to make the most of these opportunities."
The first green and gold honours for Garrick was playing for the Prime Minister's XIII at Fiji.
"Going over to Fiji was an experience I'll never forget," he said.
"Being able to visit the schools, spread the message of violence against women and run a number of clinics, was great.
"All the kids couldn't stop smiling and took everything in their strides - they were all buzzing."
Then in the match at Suva's ANZ National Stadium, Garrick's side won 52-10 - marking the first time he'd pulled on the green and gold since his schoolboys days.
"As I do with any team I'm with, I try and absorb as much as I can," Garrick said.
"The camps and game were unreal - it was also fun to receive our jerseys off Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
"Anytime you get to play for your country and alongside some of the greats of the game is awesome - it's something I'll cherish forever."
Following his return, Garrick returned to the South Coast for three days before joining the Australian Nines team in camp at Parramatta.
"The nines camp at Parramatta was quite different, as it's been at a higher intensity due to the format," Garrick, who played four minutes with the Dragons at the 2016 Auckland Nines, said.
"In the NRL, we work off a 100 metres per minute ratio but we are expected to up that to 120 in the nines.
"I'm excited to play the open, end-to-end style of footy, which should suit us outside backs - it's going to be interesting to see how each team approaches it with the format.
"Obviously defence is going to be a challenge - it's all about not getting burnt."
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During the Rugby League World Cup Nines tournament, at Parramatta's Bankwest Stadium, Garrick's side will play pool matches against New Zealand (Friday at 9pm), United States (Saturday at 2pm) and Papua New Guinea (Saturday at 5.15pm), before finals Saturday night.
Following the completion of this inaugural nines tournament, Garrick will head to Wollongong on Sunday, to join up with Neil Henry's Junior Kangaroos side, who will battle France at WIN Stadium on October 25.
"I'll finish up my busy month with the Junior Kangaroos - which has a lot of boys in it I grew up playing with and against, which is very special," Garrick said.
"Our team looks very strong but we know France are always a tough opponent.
"Making it more memorable for me is the fact the game is being played at WIN Stadium, a ground I have plenty of fond memories at - it'll be great to play in front of all my friends and family there."
Once the final siren sounds at WIN Stadium that Friday night, Garrick will use his off-season to rest up before ramping up preparations for his 2020 campaign.
"This season has been amazing and I plan to use these three Australian experiences as springboards going into next season," he said.
"I'll go into next pre-season with the same mentality as I always have which is that I need to earn my jersey.
"There'll be no resting on my laurels that's for sure.
"I have every intention of making 2020 even better, with a hope to make even more representative teams in the future, on the back of my strong play for Manly."