Just two weeks ago Andrew Davey was ready to pull the pin on his unlikely journey from bush footy to mature-age NRL debutant.
Because at age 28, he was in the rare position of being financially worse off by being in an NRL squad.
Davey will be one of several rookies in this bizarre year. But none will have a ride like the Parramatta second-rower.
In 2014, he was six years into his career as a full-time carpenter, playing footy in the Queensland mining town of Emerald.
Since then he's emerged as Mackay's best rookie in the Queensland Cup for 2016 and the club's player of the year the next.
Last year, he finally became a professional footballer at age 27 on moving to the Eels.
And on Saturday, he became the second oldest debutant of the NRL era.
"Growing up as a kid if you haven't made footy by the time you're 18 you're told to get a job," Davey said.
"I was a terrible football player so that happened earlier when I was 16.
"I didn't come through the grades, I definitely took the scenic route."
But it was so nearly a story without its fitting ending, almost destroyed by coronavirus.
Davey is one of those most impacted by it in the NRL. As one of the game's least experienced players, the 20 per cent pay cuts hurt.
The actual month-on-month financial drop is actually far more, given players were paid in full for the months before the virus hit.
And with the NRL's bubble, there was no chance of Davies picking up work on the side.
Which left him seriously considering answering calls from builders in Queensland to resume life as a chippy.
"And it's great money," Davey said.
"(When) I'm in the shower I just think, 'oh my God, the money I am giving up'.
"It's hard, because I'm 28 years old. I'm not living with my parents. You have life insurance, car insurance. I have to pay rent."
Davey opted to stay. Knowing you can't put a price on a dream.
"I knew this was what I wanted," he said.
"I turned up in Parra gear every morning and see the life I get to live. I would be mad not to live it out for as long as I could."
The forward was solid in his debut, copping a whack to the head in his first hit up from Joel Thompson but still finishing with a linebreak assist and error free.
And now he desperately craves a second shot.
"I'd love to get that second one to prove I really do belong and it's not a fluke."