Making his Group 10 premier league debut for Blayney at the age of 16, it was a good omen for the things to come for Carcoar native John Fearnley.
Fearnley would go on to make 79 appearances for Parramatta and South Sydney in Australia's premier rugby league competition between 1991 and 1995.
However, it wasn't easy for him to crack into the top grade, homesickness resulting in him returning home to the Central West twice after previously being graded to Penrith in 1987 and Illawarra in 1988.
But come 1990, it was third time.
"I was playing for Western Division on the Central Coast and I was invited to an open trial at Parramatta in November of 1990," Fearnley recalls.
"I ended up signing and I made my first grade debut in 1991. Mick Cronin was the coach and he convinced me to have a go and I stayed at Parramatta for four years.
"Then I went over to South Sydney, but I only played three games because I broke my ankle.
"Then the Super League war came about and I had a chance meeting with [then Eastern Suburbs coach] Phil Gould. He got me to come over to the Roosters, but I didn't have much luck there. I played two trial games and tore a medial ligament in my knee."
At the end of 1996, Fearnley recalls then Bathurst Penguins coach Dave Scott giving him a call.
"With the Super League and everything going on, I decided to come back and they offered me a job at the club and I've been there every since," he said.
"I've now enjoyed more than 20 years at Panthers as either playing or coaching and, in reflection, I was pretty lucky to play with some great players over my career, like Peter Sterling and Brett Kenny."
Fearnley remembers the 1992 season as a career highlight, when his Parramatta side took on a touring Great Britain side.
In front of bumper crowd of 18,220 at the old Parramatta Stadium, the Eels stunned the British to claim a 22-16 and become one of only a few club sides to defeat a touring side.
But he also remembers making his first grade debut on a Friday night in Brisbane against a then powerful Broncos side.
"We were up against players line Allan Langer and Gene Miles," he said.
"I also played in a game for the opening of the [Queensland] ANZ Stadium against the Broncos. It was one of the largest crowds to witness a game (51,517) at the time and we beat them. That was a bit of thrill to play in that."
Fearnley also remembers his time playing in the then-named NSWRL (the predecessor to the ARL and eventually NRL), where most players had another job.
"At the Eels, I worked as a cellar man, at Parramatta Leagues Club. At South Sydney, I worked on the door and at reception at their leagues club," he said.
"When I first went to Parramatta, we trained Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. We did weights optionally on a Wednesday.
"And the money was different back in those days. When I first joined for Parramatta, I remember a story saying they moved Peter Sterling to $70,000. Now these days, they're on $1 million."
When Fearnley returned to the Central West, he picked up a job as a cellar man at the Bathurst Leagues Club.
He's now been working at the club for over 20 years and in that time, he's worked his way up to general manager.
Rugby league is also a big part of his family, his father's cousin Terry Fearnley the coach of Illawarra when he was briefly graded at the Wollongong-based club in 1988.
His uncle Greg Fearnley featured in the 1973 Western Division side that won the Amco Cup, with his sons Adam and Brad both in Penrith's under 20s and under 18s sides respectively.