A few years ago Queanbeyan Blues fullback Jake Wheeler was playing for the Bungendore Tigers under 18's at Mick Sherd Oval on a Friday night.
But now Blues captain-coach Terry Campese thinks he has what it takes to make the leap to Mounties - the Canberra Raiders' feeder team - in the NSW Cup.
A supreme solo effort saw Wheeler cross the line for a crucial try in the Blues' 34-18 defeat of the Gungahlin Bulls at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval on Saturday.
It was the latest addition to the highlight reel for a player Campese believes wouldn't look out of place in a Mounties jersey - and potentially one day a Raiders one.
"He's been outstanding and he's definitely been the best player for us this year," Campese said.
"If he keeps playing how he is I'll definitely put his name forward to the Mounties coach [Steve Antonelli] and hopefully push for a spot there.
"That's what I'd like to see, is players playing well in our comp starting to get rewarded in NSW Cup for starters."
Wheeler was in the Raiders system as an under 20's player while Campese was playing in the English Super League, meaning he hadn't seen too much of him before returning home this year.
But the former Australian representative was instantly impressed by Wheeler's tireless work ethic that had him pegged as one of the club's best trainers.
" It's definitely paying off, I'm excited for him," Campese said.
"That's what you want as a coach, for players to move on to bigger things. There's definitely a few blokes this year putting their hand up so I wouldn't mind seeing a few of the boys step up next year."
Gungahlin were hungry for their first win since round one and they came out like a bull out of a gate to score the first try in the sixth minute.
The Blues fought back and took an 18-6 lead into the break, but the Bulls refused to roll over and dragged themselves back into the contest.
The competition leaders put the result beyond doubt with a late try but there's no doubt it was "a tough day at the office" for the Blues.
Campese's wife even told him over dinner she thought the Bulls were going to come out on top during their second half fightback.
"It was definitely closer than what the scoreboard reflected. We scored late in that second half to make it blowout a little bit," Campese said.
"I think they're going to be fighting it out in semi-finals as well this year. The way they played today, if they can play like that for the rest of the year they'll definitely give the comp a shake."
While the Blues did it tough in Gungahlin, it was all one-way traffic for the Queanbeyan Kangaroos at Freebody Oval.
The Roos ran riot to topple the Belconnen Sharks 50-10 and notch up their third win from the opening month of the season.
AT A GLANCE
Canberra Raiders Cup round four
Saturday: QUEANBEYAN BLUES 34 (B Taueki 2, I Ngata 2, J Wheeler, T Campese tries; T Campese 5 goals) bt GUNGAHLIN BULLS 18 (S Bramich, D Hay, J Smith-Shields tries; S Opo 2, D Keir goals). QUEANBEYAN KANGAROOS 50 (J Simbiken 2, D Reid, G Afemui, B Crisp 2, L Jones, S Afemui 2 tries; B Crisp 7 goals) d BELCONNEN UNITED SHARKS 10 (B Sione 2 tries; D Eason goal).
Sunday: GOULBURN WORKERS BULLDOGS 30 (D Stephens 3, N Cornish, Z Hart, P Cooke tries; B Hewitt 3 goals) bt TUGGERANONG BUSHRANGERS 22 (Jayden Pollard 2, John Wesley Tauti, Joshua Mitchell tries; Mitchell 2, P Demamiel goals); WODEN VALLEY RAMS 24 (Cleveland McGhie 2, Kosta Posantzis, Adam Lucas tries; Carl Johnson 4 goals) dw YASS MAGPIES 24 (Jai Smith 2, Andrew Swaffield, Junior Vatikani tries; Shaun Davis 4 goals).