From the same home town as St George Illawarra premiership player Mick Weyman to an NRL debut of his own, via a stint in the Illawarra, South Sydney prop Rhys Kennedy made a successful debut on Sunday.
The Rabbitohs beat the Gold Coast 28-20 at ANZ Stadium to move to a share of the competition lead with Melbourne, with Kennedy playing 23 minutes in his first stint in the big time.
Kennedy emerged from the far South Coast town of Moruya and was picked up by Melbourne, before becoming part of the Canberra Raiders system the to the Illawarra competition and then-named Cutters' NSW Premiership squad, going on to sign with South Sydney feeder club Norths.
From there, Kennedy's toil was rewarded when he was handed his first Rabbitohs jersey on Sunday. His brother Jarrad played 51 games for Canberra and Manly between 2012 and 2017.
"In 2016 I went to Wollongong, but took a bit of a backwards step and ended up playing in the local comp for a bit," Kennedy told NRL.com. "Then in 2017 I made my way to North Sydney and now I've got my opportunity with Souths."
His debut comes as Thirroul booked their Illawarra Challenge Cup final spot with a 58-4 demolition of Berkeley, two weeks after outclassing Dapto 38-0 in the opening game.
Thirroul will meet Collegians on Friday night, having pulled off a thrilling win against Corrimal at Ziems Park to book their ticket to the pre-season decider.
In the other deferred Challenge Cup game, Wests beat Helensburgh 24-14 at Rex Jackson Oval.