Parramatta rising star Dylan Brown was 11 when he first learned how Benji Marshall developed into the legend he's become back home in New Zealand.
Almost ten years on and now the youngster will take on the veteran for the first time when the Eels host the Tigers at Bankwest Stadium on Thursday.
The pair first met during last year's rugby league World Cup nines tournament when Marshall mentored a Kiwis squad that included Brown.
But the Eels five-eighth was already well versed on Marshall's history, having read his biography when it was published in 2011.
"I was like 12 or 11 I think, my intermediate teacher read us his book because that was when his book came out," Brown said on Tuesday.
"For her to read that book to me, and then ... years later I'm hanging out with him, is a pretty cool story I feel."
Asked what he remembered most from Marshall's story, Brown didn't refer to the Tigers' star's trademark sidestep or famous grand final flick pass.
"Just more about his upbringing and how he used to get beat up from his uncles and stuff," Brown said.
"He used to play with his older uncles at the park and that's how he toughened up and gained confidence.
"That was one main thing which I'm sure everyone can relate to back home."
The duo has been in contact since, exchanging text messages as Brown establishes himself as one of the future stars in the league this season.
The 20-year-old hopes to emulate Marshall's self-belief.
"I don't know how to explain it because we weren't really on the field together," Brown said of their time together in Kiwis camp.
"But just him being around and showing me how confident he is, is something I want to try and hope to be like in the future."
Brown was brutally honest of his individual effort in last week's shock loss to Manly, which came without star halfback Mitchell Moses.
The Eels get Moses back from injury for Thursday's clash with the Tigers.
"My biggest lesson is remaining calm. I got a bit too frantic, their (defensive) line was shooting up a lot and trying to spook me and it actually worked," Brown said.
"I just need to stay calm, which I usually do, which I'm usually good at.
"But the fact I had to step up that game, it played on my mind too much throughout the week. That was one of the biggest things (I learned)."