Young New Zealand Warriors half Paul Turner has detailed the special moment he shared with his family when he found out he was about to make his NRL debut.
The 20-year-old was brought into the matchday side and covered the loss of Chanel Harris-Tavita, who was ruled out in the lead-up to Sunday's clash against the Bulldogs following a head knock in training.
Turner was told on Wednesday after training, which he says was a special moment that he quickly shared with his parents.
"Coaches came into my room and said welcome. [I] was a bit emotional after that.
"When I got told I rang my old man and told him the good news. After I hung up with him, he ended up having a little cry to my mum."
Turner says when he found out, everything went so fast that he was barely able to savour the moment. He adds the same has happened following the match with the need to rest and rejuvenate ahead of the team's next clash against the Knights.
Making his debut understandably stirred up its fair share of jitters.
"I was a bit shy going into the game, playing beside other NRL players that have played 300-plus games. I reckon that's given me a big boost and major confidence in my game that I needed," Turner says.
"I was just thinking in my head - 'got to get my job done for the boys'."
But those goosebumps did not affect Turner's performance, who paid off the club's move to start a rookie in the halves, as he helped guide them to a vital 20-14 comeback win over the Bulldogs, keeping their slim top eight hopes alive.
The small sample size offered up has promise painted all over it. Turner contributed a steady 72 running metres and a team-high seven tackle breaks, while being denied two tries within a three minute span.
It is doubly impressive when considering the youngster's long layoff from the sport. Turner has not played a game since the Warriors' trial matches against the Storm and Wests Tigers at the start of the year, and has instead had the rigours of team training in Tamworth to whip him into shape.
The encouraging performance has garnered public support as well, with Australian rugby league writer Tony Adams, more commonly known as The Mole, comparing Turner's performance to Kiwis legend Benji Marshall when he made his NRL debut in 2003.
But Turner says so far, he has not taken much notice of any praise.
"I actually haven't been on the internet in a couple of days. Just enjoying the time with the boys, because they really played a big part in what happened on the weekend, so I've been around them and just taking it in."
Turner is currently signed to a development deal but promises he will be at the club next season. That creates an interesting battle in the halves, with his improved stock placing him alongside Harris-Tavita and Kodi Nikorima for the starting roles.
For the meantime, he will need to nurse a body that has just been put through the ringer in its maiden first-grade appearance. Turner says he's still sore and describes the contact as "unreal".
Despite suffering a minor shoulder knock, he hopes to feature again this coming weekend against Newcastle. Turner has been named on the interchange, with Harris-Tavita returning to start.
Warriors team to face Newcastle:
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. Adam Pompey, 3. Hayze Perham, 4. Peta Hiku, 5. George Jennings, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 9. Karl Lawton, 10. Lachlan Burr, 11. Eliesa Katoa, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Jazz Tevaga.
Interchange: 14. Wayde Egan, 15. Adam Blair, 16. Daniel Alvaro, 17. Jack Murchie, 18. Isaiah Papali'i, 19. Gerard Beale, 20. Josh Curran, 21. Paul Turner.