Burdened by the pressure of different methods in strange surroundings, Imperial Trading Otumoetai Eels winger Ryan Gordon chucked in his contract in Australia and set his sights on simpler goals closer to home.
"I'd sort of given up on it after it didn't work out in Aussie. I thought I'd just go play for the Eels and have a crack at getting back into the WaiCoa Bay team - that's where my expectations were coming back."
As it turns out, Gordon will not start for Waicoa Bay when the representative side plays its first game of the year on August 24 as a curtain-raiser for the New Zealand Maori side's match with New Zealand Universities.
Gordon touched down eight times in his first six games back, attracting attention from unexpected quarters, meaning he is no longer available to turn out for the combined Waikato and Coastline side.
"I never expected New Zealand Maori to even look at me, then Stan "Bunny" Nicholas facebooked me and asked if I had Maori heritage," he said.
"I was pretty sure there was so I rang up mum and asked her what the story was. She said there is heritage there, and we went over to play Taniwharau that week and I spoke to the selector afterwards, who said he'd keep me in mind.
"I got an email on the Monday night from James "Jock" Nicholson that said I was in the squad and I was starting on the wing."
Gordon puts his rapid ascent down to the environment created at the proud Mitchell Park-based club.
"I never thought I'd come back from Aussie and make the New Zealand Maoris. I've been playing with a lot of quality players that have helped me stand out. I came across from rugby a couple of years ago and I really didn't know anything about league coming back. I've just been lucky that I've walked into a team, and a club, that has shown me how to play."
Gordon will go into camp at Turangawaewae marae on August 22/23 before making his Maori debut at Patterson Park in Ngaruawahia on August 25.