When he was 15 years old, Tohu Harris jumped on a bus bound for Wellington, making a journey that would change his life.
Growing up in the Hawke's Bay, there weren't too many league options for the teenager, who played for Hastings Boys' High School first XV and club rugby for Tamatea.
He dabbled with the 13-man code in some end of season matches, which was where he was noticed by ex-Kiwi David Lomax, leading to some games for the Central Falcons Bartercard Cup youth team.
But thoughts of a professional career were far from his mind, until a phone call from Lomax in November 2008, informing him the Melbourne Storm were holding an open trial for scholarship prospects in Wellington.
Harris took the next available bus to the capital, crashing in a spare room at Lomax's house, before heading along to the try out.
"There were about 120 kids and a whole lot of talented guys from all over the Wellington region," recalled Harris. "I didn't know what to expect."
There was a training session on the Saturday, followed by games on the Sunday, with two Storm scholarships up for grabs.
At the end of the camp, Melbourne head coach Craig Bellamy picked out two kids from the horde of hopefuls. One was Harris, the other future All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara.
"I was lucky," said Harris. "I was lucky to find out about the camp and then to be chosen. It's one of those things but who knows how things could have turned out otherwise."
From those humble beginnings Harris has thrived in the NRL.
He moved to Melbourne as a 17-year-old and starred for the Storm's under-20 side across three seasons, before his NRL debut in March 2013, followed by a Kiwis cap just two months later.
Harris' journey came full circle on Wednesday, named the new skipper of the Warriors, becoming the 12th club captain in the 27-year history of the franchise.
He follows Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who led the club in 104 games after replacing Ryan Hoffman in the role at the start of the 2017 season.
Hoffman was in charge for one year (2016), with Simon Mannering (136 games as captain, 2010-2015) and Steve Price (91, 2005-2009), the others to hold the mantle since 2005.
The 182 NRL game veteran was the logical contender, among a squad not exactly over endowed with experience, but wasn't taking anything for granted when he spoke to the Herald at the end of this season.
"It's not up to me," said Harris. "Obviously if I was asked to do the role it would be extremely humbling, especially the people who have held the position before.
"It would be an exciting thing and I would love to take the challenge on but obviously it is a decision that is up to the coach and CEO. Whatever decision they make I have to support it and make sure that how I perform is first and foremost."
Harris is an ideal choice.
He has been a strong presence since his arrival at the club in 2018 and played a huge role in the last two seasons based in Australia.
Not only did he set the example with tireless 80-minute efforts, the 29-year-old also had a massive input behind the scenes, working with the coaching staff before and after sessions in the search for ways to improve the team.
"While we have some strong leaders in our squad, Tohu brings so much to our team and to our club as the man to lead us," said coach Nathan Brown
"Everyone can see the standards he sets for himself and consistently achieves on the field but equally impressive is the way he handles himself away from the game."
Harris isn't expected back in action until next May, as he continues his rehabilitation from surgery following an ACL rupture suffered in July against Penrith.
But he is heavily involved in training and preparations for the new season and isn't hiding from the Warriors' critical area of improvement needed ahead of 2022.
"The obvious part is how fast the game has gone," said Harris. "We need to make sure we adapt to that and can handle that speed for the full 80 minutes. You look at teams like Penrith, Souths and Melbourne and they play at a high intensity for the whole game.
"That is something we need to be better at. [In 2021] we had a lot of games that we lost by small margins so being able to play at a high intensity for longer will make a huge difference in those sort of games.
"We need to make sure we come back better in every way - physically and mentally, to make sure we are not in the same position [we were last season]."