When Jacob Alick joined the Gold Coast on a train-and-trial deal at the end of last year, it was never in his wildest dreams he'd be representing Papua New Guinea six months later.
In fact, the electrifying edge forward would've probably laughed at anyone who suggested it.
But fast forward to the here and now, the 23-year-old will step foot onto Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday and make his International debut for the Kumuls in the Pacific Test match against Fiji, an outcome he was never expecting when he first took up the opportunity to join the Titans in November, 2021.
"It's been a crazy six months for myself. If you had told me where I'd be right now back then, I probably would've laughed," Alick said.
"It's been a long journey for me personally, but to see the rewards coming now, it's really good.
"I'm just enjoying my footy back at Burleigh and obviously training here everyday, it's been a learning experience.
"Everything is coming along so far and I'm loving it... I can't complain at all."
Playing 20 games for Souths Logan across two seasons of the Hostplus Cup between 2019-2021, it was a family friend who happened to lure Alick to the Coast, only expecting to gain some experience with the NRL club during a short six-week stint in the off-season before playing for the Burleigh Bears.
"Bears assistant coach Scott Sipple... he's a good mate of my old man and I just had a casual conversation with him one day. He asked me what I was doing next year and if I'd be keen to come down to the Bears. I ended up having a meeting with Bears head coach Rick Stone and it went from there," Alick said.
"They offered me a little six-week train-and-trial here and I took it with both hands... I'd be silly not to take the opportunity and obviously, this has come from it.
"I'm so glad that I made that move now. It's been really good for myself and my family are really proud.
"They've seen how hard I've worked behind the scenes and obviously, it's taken a while now... I'm 23. They're just so happy for me and proud, which is awesome for myself."
From taking that opportunity which led to a full-time contract at the Gold Coast came another chance for the young forward, this time representing his heritage, receiving an interesting phone call in May to flag the potential of joining the Kumuls for their campaign.
"It's wild actually. I honestly hadn't really thought about it too much," Alick revealed.
"I got a call probably a month ago now from the head of football at PNG, just asking about my eligibility and seeing if I was keen. I didn't even think about it when it came up... I was really happy to do it.
"I'm really proud of where I'm from and my grandmother was born there actually. She passed away probably 10 years ago now, so it's pretty cool that I get to represent her and represent where she's from."
Never really being part of a representative program before, the International debutant is chomping at the bit to be part of his first experience in a rugby league camp.
"I honestly can't wait to get into camp. I've never really been in a camp to be honest and haven't been in any sort of rep sides, so it's going to be an eye-opening experience," Alick said.
"I'm honestly just want to get in there and meet all the boys and do my best for the jersey."
With plenty of experienced heads in the Papua New Guinea squad, such as Alex Johnston, David Mead and Justin Olam just to name a few, Alick wants to be a huge sponge and soak up as much as he can from the opportunity.
"Obviously there are a few boys in the PNG side that are regular NRL players, so I'll just be trying to learn off them. Even just seeing how they prepare would be awesome, being with them for the week," Alick said.
"I'll just try and be a sponge and soak it all up and bring it back here and keep playing good footy to try and push for that spot in the top 17."