Each morning Jason Saab walks past a photo of Keith Titmuss and is inspired to etch his name alongside his late mate as a Manly NRL player.
The death of Titmuss after a training session last November rocked the Sea Eagles, just three days into his time as part of the club's top-30 full-time squad.
The promising prop was declared the Sea Eagles' No.623, given it was considered only a matter of time before he made his NRL debut in 2021.
Saab felt the pain as much as most, describing Titmuss as his "backbone".
The 20-year-old Saab went to school alongside Titmuss at Westfields, and had planned on joining his best friend at the Sea Eagles after his exit from St George Illawarra.
Now the motivation is to become No.624 for Manly, driven by what Saab labels a hall-of-fame image of Titmuss in the players' area at Narrabeen.
"It has its days," Saab said.
"I walk past the park every day and see him, so he is my first thought every time I come here.
"Sometimes it's hard to grasp the thought that this is probably where he took his last steps.
"So, you know, it is, it is pretty heavy.
"But at the same time it feels scripted that I'm here and I feel more comfortable than ever.
"He's my motivation to be here. He is my strength."
Saab was one of several close friends to visit Titmuss' Leppington grave last week, on the day that should have been his 21st birthday.
"It was pretty bittersweet signing the contract after my best friend passed away," Saab said.
"It was something I was looking forward to I was I was really excited.
"And then at the time it almost didn't mean anything to me.
"I mean that respectfully... I haven't really grieved over someone this close to me before so I'm always still learning how I grieve and whatnot.
"He's with me every day and that pumps me up, you know, whenever I come out here and train.
"He's sort of like my backbone and motivation. If anything, I'm probably in good spirits because of him."
Saab is expected to fulfil his dream of joining Titmuss on the Manly honour roll after limited chances at the Dragons.
He offers Manly some much-needed height and speed on the wing, while the established Jorge Taufua is set to miss the first month as he recovers from a ruptured achilles.
"Dessie (Hasler) puts his faith in me and trust," Saab said.
"He wants me to back my ability. I have the ability with the high kicks and use that speed."