Aaron Calver's ascent into the Sydney FC first team has been steep - but maybe not quite as steep as the 100-metre driveway to his Helensburgh home.
"I've done a fair bit of sprinting up the hill," Sydney FC's Calver said. "Not so much any more, but I used to do a lot."
Which might explain why one day shy of his 17th birthday, and having already nudged past the six foot mark in the old scale, the former Wolves junior is ahead of his time.
For all Calver's physical maturity, there's also a fair bit of nous to the former striker who has found a home in the centre of defence.
Not only did the hill serve as a valuable training ground, the swing set in the backyard was put to good use too. And not for the children it's usually for.
"I do have a swing set that we turned into a goal," said Calver, the second youngest ever player to pull on a Sky Blues jersey. "We took all the swings off and I used to smack balls into the net."
But football hasn't completely consumed the softly-spoken defender.
While he's still bearing the professional football L-Plates much like the ones he's eligible for on the road, Calver hasn't done away with his schooling.
"It's still important and you always need to have something to fall back on," the Heathcote High School student said. "Hopefully I can get my HSC [later this year], get decent marks and go from there."
It's meant juggling 5.30am starts for morning training at Sydney FC's Macquarie University base before heading back to school, and catching up on work at home after the bell.
It's a position he didn't think he'd be in so soon.
Calver received a text message to attend first-team training on Christmas Day. He didn't go, but fronted up the following day, and showed enough to convince manager Frank Farina to include him in the travelling squad to Adelaide for the New Year's Eve defeat.
"After the session on the Friday he told me I'd be travelling the next day in the squad, but he didn't tell me if I would be on the bench," Calver said. "It was an anxious wait until gameday and then I found out I would be on the bench."
He was thrown into the fray after a quarter-of-an-hour when Adam Griffiths went down, and deputised in Perth where he marked the league's most prolific striker, Shane Smeltz, in a measured display during a 2-2 draw against the Glory.
After a string of plaudits, he's likely to keep his place for the injury-riddled Sydney FC against fellow battlers Melbourne Heart in a home debut on Sunday.
"It's not just me - there's two other boys who have made the step up from the youth [team] as well," he said. "The opportunities are there at the club.
"Obviously [my goal is] to just keep my game improving and not hit a slump. If I can cement a spot that would be great, but if I can't I just keep working hard.
"Ever since under 11s I've been [in the junior Wolves system] and the development down in Wollongong is fantastic for bringing up the young players."
Calver wasn't even born by the time marquee signing Alessandro Del Piero had won a Serie A title with Juventus.
"He's a class above everyone else at training in the games," Calver said. "He's just got so much more knowledge than everyone else which is why he is the way he is."
And has the club's oldest and most decorated player passed on any advice to its least experienced?
"He's told me to keep doing what I'm doing."
Which is why the hill up to the front door will never go out of fashion.