Tuross Head product Rhys Kennedy has described the "amazing experience" of his NRL debut with the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Sunday, March 31.
Kennedy played 22 minutes in South Sydney's 28-20 win over the Gold Coast Titans at Sydney's ANZ Stadium. He finished the match with four runs for 34 metres and 17 tackles.
Kennedy said the experience was "unreal".
"It was a big night for me," he said. "I had all my friends and family there, so that made it extremely special.
"What I've been through over the past couple of years with my rugby league has contributed to making this a big game for me.
"I was quite emotional on the night, and I really enjoyed the experience."
Kennedy said he found out about his debut on Wednesday.
"I had a rough idea during training that I was a chance to play this week, it was just depending on what happened with another player," he said.
"I got the call on Wednesday, and I was over the moon. I called the family straight away, and it was the best feeling in the world."
He said his family were stoked with the news, and quickly made plans to be in Sydney on Sunday night.
"I'd been talking to them a bit that week, but they're all proud of me," he said. "They know what I've been through and how much hard work I've put in to this, and they're really happy for me."
Kennedy will always be an NRL player, but said he wouldn't let it change the way he looks at his career.
"I don't look at myself as any different to anyone else," he said. "I'm just so grateful to be able to put on the jumper of such a proud club. It's something you dream of as a kid."
The Rabbitohs' next match is against the Manly Sea Eagles, but Kennedy isn't sure whether he'll be part of the match-day 17.
"I had some good feedback in the sheds afterwards, but it's only a day after the game at this stage," he said. "I worked hard defensively, and I did the job I wanted when I got an opportunity with the ball.
"I wanted to make sure I did the right things to help the team get another win.
"I put my best foot forward on Sunday, and I'd love to get another shot next week, but it all depends on who's available."