AN NRL debut, a come from behind win and being compared to a rugby league legend - William Kennedy could hardly have dreamed of a better 22nd birthday.
On Thursday night the Bathurst rugby league talent pulled on jersey #19 as Cronulla Sharks coach John Morris gave him the job of fullback for the NRL clash with Penrith.
It was a match the Sharks went on to win 24-20 after being 14-0 down at half-time.
It meant as well as having his team-mates sign happy birthday in the sheds, he joined them in a rendition of Up, Up Cronulla.
After the match Sharks skipper Paul Gallen also offered Kennedy a massive compliment as he compared his skills to those of rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns.
"He's been part of our full time system for two or three years now and look, I compare him to Andrew Johns at training," Gallen said.
"He absolutely carves us to pieces at training all the time.
"I haven't seen too many better at training. If he can do half of what he does at training in a game, he'll be an absolute superstar.
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"He'll get better from that and he had to play pretty tough tonight for a bloke that's only 80-odd kilos.
"Fingers crossed he can keep his spot, he's obviously got six to seven weeks until Matt Moylan comes back. He'll get better for us without a doubt."
A product of St Pat's, Kennedy worked hard to earn his debut from the moment he joined the Sharks as a 17-year-old.
He played SG Ball that year, winning a premiership, and then went on to play an integral role in the Sharks' Holden Cup side.
Last season he stepped up to senior football, playing with Sharks' feeder club Newtown Jets.
Kennedy quickly earned a reputation as one of best attacking fullbacks in the NSW Intrust Super Premiership - scoring more tries than all but one other player in the competition.
This season he has continued to work hard and when Sharks winger winger Sione Katoa was ruled out of the clash with Penrith at PointsBet Stadium, Kennedy was given the nod.
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Before he ran out to be Shark number 530, he had a special moment when his father William 'Bubba' Kennedy presented him with his debut jersey.
It was a proud occasion for 'Bubba' Kennedy as well, his son following in his footsteps. A talented centre, he played 61 First Grade games for the Tigers from 1996-1998.
In his debut match William Kennedy was solid at custodian in front of the 10,088 strong crowd.
He gained 109 metres - 51 of those being off kick returns - had five tackle breaks and defused five kicks. In defence he made four tackles.