Adam Pompey laughs when it is suggested he is now the senior centre at the Warriors, even though he's starting to play like one.
The 22-year-old has taken the long road to the NRL, but after years of toil, it feels like he is finally making his mark.
Pompey was the hero last Saturday, scoring the late, late try that sealed the 34-31 comeback win over Canberra, as he powered over the line from 15 metres out.
"Yeah, it was a special moment," said Pompey. "To get over the line again and just to help out the boys. It was amazing feeling. As you saw in the try [celebration]."
That play put the quietly spoken Pompey in the limelight, but he has been knocking on the door for a while, a consistent performer whenever given a chance, since his debut in July 20219
He played five games that year, then 13 last season, as the Warriors' squad was thinned out by injuries and withdrawals.
His numbers from 2020 were impressive – five tries, eight-line breaks and around 100 running metres a game – but Pompey was back on the fringes in pre-season, with the arrival of Euan Aitken from the Dragons.
But Aitken's injury in round one gave an opportunity, which he has taken superbly.
He scored a powerful try against the Knights, along with 15 runs for 120 metres, before his clutch play in Canberra, which took his NRL tally to nine tries in 20 matches.
With Peta Hiku also sidelined, Pompey's importance in the outside back division is even more pronounced, ahead of Sunday's clash with the Roosters (8:15pm NZT).
"Don't call me the senior centre at the moment, I'm still learning the game," laughed Pompey. "If I can get help from experienced centres, I will just do my thing. I'm getting confident in the way that I'm playing at the moment, still got a lot to work on. But obviously getting an opportunity again is very special."
Pompey's NRL dream started in 2014, when he was scouted by the Roosters while playing rugby at Wesley College. The schoolboy would fly over for SG Ball games, then later played 40 matches for the Bondi club at Under-20 level.
After four years in the Roosters' system, he came home ahead of the 2019 season.
Pompey has steadily progressed at the Warriors, before hitting new heights this season.
Looking ahead, he admits their second half revival against Canberra will do wonders for long term belief.
"It will give us a big boost of confidence that we have a good side this year," said Pompey. "If we can build on those combinations that we have we will [go] a long way."
He said the team never stopped believing on Saturday, even when they were camped on their own line with only three minutes left, trailing 31-28.
"Everyone found that belief that we can do it as a team," said Pompey. "Building on the back of that everyone was just hyped and keen to play and throw the footy around. We ended up with the six again and it helped us get to the try line."
The Warriors have historically struggled to back up good performances, but some stern post-match messages in the dressing room should help to dampen down any complacency.
"We were happy with the win, but we were pretty mad about this start that we had in the first half," said Pompey. "We have a lot of things to work on, so if we can fix a few areas around our games it will be much easier."