Two years ago Nicho Hynes was rock bottom and broke in Mackay but his older brother talked him out of throwing away his football career.
On Saturday in Gosford, his older brother Wade presented him with his debut NRL jersey when he played fullback for Melbourne Storm in their 26-16 win over South Sydney.
The 23-year-old stand-in fullback was coach Craig Bellamy's fourth choice for the position at the start of 2019 after Jahrome Hughes, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Scott Drinkwater.
But the first two were injured just two days before kick-off against the Rabbitohs at Central Coast Stadium and Drinkwater took up an offer with the Cowboys in June.
"There was a bit of nerves but more excitement," Hynes said of his maiden game in the Telstra Premiership.
He has been plying his trade with the Sunshine Coast Falcons, Melbourne's feeder club in the Intrust Super Cup.
His 17 runs for 113 metres, making two tackle-busts, seemed a long way from when he was struggling in Mackay, unable to get a job, his first time away from home, busted up with his partner and money was nearly gone.
He wanted to return to his family. His older brother Wade coaxed him to stay.
"He told me there was no way I could quit now ... he told me to think of the little five-year-old kid who had a dream. I stuck with it and got a call from Melbourne to come to them."
The crazy part is Hynes was born up the road from Central Coast Stadium in Umina. His brother still lives here, working as a carpenter.
"Without him and my family I wouldn’t be here. That day I called him I was very close. So I reckon he's my saviour," Hynes said.
"This year has been the best year of my life. Best day of my life today and the second best will be when Wade's first baby is born in October."
Bellamy said anyone would have a soft spot for Hynes's type of tale.
"It's good to see people who have been through adversity, get there in the end because of hard work. It's a nice story," Bellamy said.
But it could be a one-off as Bellamy believes both Hughes (back) and Papenhuyzen (foot) will be back for next Saturday's stoush at AAMI Park against the Raiders.
"What Paps and Hughesy have done for us this year I can't leave them out," he said.
"Perhaps we should try to find another position for [Hynes] because he's got a bit of size about him."
Hynes played all his junior football in the halves but has been the Falcons' No.1 all season.
"He looked a touch rusty at times but that's because he hasn't played with these blokes. He's only had two training sessions with them in that position," Bellamy said.
"I thought it was a tremendous performance and he certainly didn't look out of place. I'm thinking he's going to be playing plenty more first grade in the future."
The fact Hynes is a local wasn't missed on anyone.
"When he accepted his jumper – his brother presented it to him – he reckons he circled this game because it was on the Central Coast and said 'I'm going to get picked in that game'," Bellamy said.
"If he'd said that to me last week I'm thinking, 'Mate you're in a fantasy world'. And then it happened.
"So good things happen to good people. He has worked really hard to get there."
And it was another example of a Storm player stepping up when called upon.
"It was quite a disrupted week and coming to a ground that only Cameron [Smith] and Will Chambers had played at," Bellamy said.
"Our effort was outstanding today. Everyone put 100% in. It was what we needed and what we got and that's why the result came.
"It's probably one of our better wins of the year because of the circumstances."