Lachlan Burr has taken the road less travelled to a Warriors starting berth.
It wasn't so long ago that the 26-year-old considered giving the sport away for good — after a difficult stint in the northern hemisphere— and last year he was working full time as a carpenter.
But on Saturday the 1.88m, 103kg Burr will run out at lock to face the Bulldogs, his first NRL appearance in almost three years.
"I'm hungry, very hungry," said Burr. "I went overseas, didn't have the best of times. I had to start at the bottom again and now I'm back into fulltime football."
His drive was evident during the Warriors' second trial against the Tigers in Whangarei, when he was one of the best forwards on display in the first half.
It was also apparent later in the match, as he gave some of the Warriors' coaching staff on the bench an earful, such was his disappointment at being spelled during the second half.
Burr is impatient. He knows this might be his last chance to make an impact in the NRL, after being picked up as a depth signing by the Warriors last November, and he wants to make up for lost time.
"I was working as a carpenter and finishing my apprenticeship," recalled Burr. "Then I got a call from my manager seeing if I wanted to pursue coming over here. When I heard that I just jumped on it."
After representing both NSW and Australian Schoolboys, Burr came through the grades at Canterbury and made his NRL debut near the end of the 2013 season.
But he didn't feature the following year, and then moved to the Gold Coast Titans, where he made 20 appearances in 2015.
But that was the peak of his first grade career so far. He only made three more top flight appearances, with his last in July 2016, against the Warriors.
An attempt to resurrect his career at Bradford Bulls didn't work out, as he trained for three months without pay in the pre-season, before the club was wound up.
Burr switched to Leigh Centurions in 2017, playing 20 matches, but left after relegation to the Championship. There was a dispute over the terms of his contract — which Burr says he has a lawyer looking into — and a disillusioned Burr almost ditched the sport.
"I went travelling for four months, I was sort of thinking that maybe football wasn't for me anymore," said Burr. "After all the stuff that happened in England I was a bit off footy, I just wanted to travel. But after clearing my head I thought, maybe I still want to keep playing."
Burr signed up on minimal terms for the Bulldogs — "a monthly little wage, wasn't even match payments" — and started a carpentry apprenticeship. He worked from 7am to 3:30pm each day, trained in the evenings and also had night school classes twice a week.
"It was a pretty hectic year for me," said Burr. " so to get something this year was very rewarding."
Burr also finished on a high in Sydney, winning the ISP Grand final with the Bulldogs, and being named their reserve grade player of the year.
As the next chapter of Burr's itinerant career begins on Saturday, expect him to make the most of it.
"He's really impressed, a real hard worker," said Warriors coach Stephen Kearney. "You get guys like that with a sense of purpose and hunger about them and they push the people around them. He has certainly done that and has put himself in the frame just by the way he has worked."