Rookie Manly winger Abbas Miski may seem like he came from the clouds to debut for an injury-ravaged Sea Eagles but that does not take into account the years of plugging away in the lower grades to earn a chance.
His appearance in the NRL has been described as 'Bradbury-esque' with injuries to Tom Trbojevic, Jorge Taufua and Albert Hopoate, as well as the absence of Dylan Walker, creating the need to blood the Lebanon international and Blacktown Workers flanker from outside the club's top-30 list.
But steady years of improvement for the 23-year-old earned him not only a World Cup campaign with Lebanon in 2017 but a chance to train with Manly's top squad during the 2019 pre-season, which had him ready for his chance.
Miski said he was down in Ron Massey Cup – the semi-professional league that sits below Canterbury Cup – with Wentworthville just two years ago before eventually cementing a Canterbury Cup spot at Blacktown Workers.
Match Highlights: Sea Eagles v Broncos
"It built into my debut pretty well, I was playing (Canterbury) Cup for a good couple of years and got good experience there then in 2017 played in the World Cup which was next level," Miski told NRL.com.
"I kept playing Cup consistently and the consistent training with the NRL squad helped me a lot to eventually make my debut last weekend.
"I can't say I was really thrown into the deep end, that all helped me a lot. Just handling nerves and just getting to know what NRL at the top level is like, the speed of the game, the contact."
Although Miski realised the wave of injuries in the Manly backs was bringing him closer to an NRL start, he was still shocked when pulled into Des Hasler's office two weeks ago.
"It happened before the Bulldogs game last week, it was pretty early," he recalled.
"It was just Dessie telling me one on one, he called me into his office, I didn't know what he wanted to tell me to be honest, it was a bit of a shock but I was really happy, I tried to keep it in but I couldn't.
"I knew I was thereabouts because of how many injuries the club has. Monday or Tuesday Des told me I was there. I was really nervous last week but it was good we got the win.
"This week I felt a bit better, the nerves cooled down. I feel like I'm getting better and learning more every week."
While most players can't wait to call their parents or partners once they find out they are making their debut, Miski said his team list savvy relatives saved him the need.
"I didn't make any phone calls – I have a lot of family that check the team list on Tuesdays so all the phone calls were made straight away to me, I didn't have time to make any phone calls!" he laughed.
Miski was twice denied a try – an obstruction or error in the lead-up the issue – in his team's Magic Round loss to Brisbane, but despite not quite bagging a dream four-pointer he played strongly, making some tough takes under the high ball, running more than 100 metres and busting two tackles.
"The goal is to be full time and train full time and cement my spot. I don't want to look too far ahead, just take every game as it is," he said.
"If I play again next week I'll feel better, if I'm playing NSW Cup I'll feel like I've improved a lot with the experience of hanging around the big boys, it teaches me a lot.
"I want to play for a very long time ... I'm glad I made my debut this year, it was one of my goals."