After he earned selection in the USA Hawks' maiden World Cup Nines squad, Ronaldo Mulitalo was sent an old recording by his brother.
"I had said to him about two years ago, 'Two years from now I want to be playing for the USA'," Mulitalo, whose mother was born in American Samoa, reflected to NRL.com.
"It's funny to kind of hear it now and to be here in this position to play for the USA is unreal."
But the 19-year-old Mulitalo, who burst onto the NRL scene this season with the Cronulla Sharks, almost never received the initial invitation to represent the USA.
"They didn't call me – the coach [Sean Rutgerson] messaged me on Facebook. I hadn't seen it because it was in requests," Mulitalo laughed.
"I was like I'll just open up the requests and see what's going on and then I saw it. I was like, 'Oh, shit!'"
A contact from his junior days at the Ipswich Jets got Mulitalo's phone number from Sharks teammate Kurt Capewell and the process to formally register the flying winger as a Hawk began.
"The USA has always been a big influence on me. When I saw them play, I thought, 'That would be fun. It would be pretty cool, something different'," Mulitalo said, adding he also has ambitions to play for Samoa and Australia down the track.
"My whole family on my mum's side are American Samoan and they're all proud as well. It will be good to represent that side of them. Now I just need to get myself to the USA and experience [the country]. I can't wait."
Running out on the international stage at Parramatta's Bankwest Stadium on October 18-19 will cap off a fruitful period for Mulitalo.
In the past fortnight, he's claimed the Canterbury Cup NSW premiership and the NRL State Championship title with the Newtown Jets.
"Two trophies in two weeks isn't bad and it would be nice to add another one [at the Nines]," Mulitalo said.
Given the USA have been drawn in the same pool as Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, the odds are stacked against them.
"It'll be a tough one, to be honest with you, but I'm excited," said Mulitalo.
With Newtown's celebrations only just wrapping up, Mulitalo will carry a winning buzz into Hawks camp next week when he meets his new teammates.
"I'll kind of learn their lingo and see what the boys have to offer. I'm sure they'll be fun so I can't wait," Mulitalo said.
"I think it’s a great weekend for the whole of international rugby league. I'm sure there's going to be a lot of talent shown.
"The girls [tournament] is going to be crazy as well, they're great to watch."
For ticket and travel packages for the Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s Sydney 2019, head to nrl.com/tickets.