Jordan Pereira is standing there in a daze.
The sound of 47, 296 people is overwhelming inside the Suncorp Stadium cauldron in his first finals game, just the eighth NRL appearance in his career.
How was he going to handle this?
And then something snaps him out of it.
Standing just a metre or so away in the moments prior to kick-off, in an elimination playoff against the Broncos, Dragons teammate Tariq Sims is flexing and screaming as loudly as he can, a primal reaction to show he's ready for the occasion.
Welcome to the big time, Jordan.
"It felt like 100,000 people, it wasn't, but it felt like it," he told the Mercury.
"I've never seen that many people let alone been in the middle of it.
"I was in my shell and he's screamed the roof off and he's broken that shell, it changed my mindset.
"From that moment I was so geed up, I'll never forget it."
Sims delivered in style, scoring three tries in a stunning 48-18 demolition of Brisbane, before they bowed out in a semi-final thriller 13-12 against Souths the next week. This year, Pereira's remarkable rise has continued, scoring five tries in as many games, to be equal second highest in the league, only behind the Rabbitohs' Cody Walker.
It's perfect timing for the Dragons too, following the exit of Nene Macdonald - who suffered a horror broken ankle at the Cowboys - and the retirement of Kiwi international and fan favourite Jason Nightingale.
The 2010 premiership captain Ben Hornby, now an assistant to Paul McGregor has played a major role in turning Pereira into a more rounded player.
Turning him into a perfectionist when it comes to technique and catching high balls.
Parramatta recruit Corey Norman has become the left-edge conductor in defence, helping Pereira to make better reads and tackles.
"He's there in the line telling the other team what play they're going to run and how we're going to stop it. And he's right," Pereira said.
"Sometimes it's easy to go quiet in defence and just worry about trying to do your own job and make the right decision. But it all comes as second nature to him, talking and seeing shapes and identifying them.
"Defensively he's making me a much better player."
Pereira stops mid-interview to chastise himself for conceding a try in the 75th minute against Canterbury, even though they were leading 34-nil at the time.
"I made a bad read and let in the only try," he said.
"I can live with it, because there was no issue with me trying hard enough, I'll do better and I'm willing to go over my mistakes and learn."
Pereira looks across the other side of the field for inspiration, to the Dragons' project player and former rugby union talent Mikaela Ravalawa.
While Ravalawa only made his own debut in round one, Pereira said he envies the Fijian product's potency.
"I don't have his finishing ability," he said.
"Just watching him and seeing how he positions his body, he's going to be a tremendous player. Just look at him, he's chiselled like a Greek god or something, his rig is ridiculous."
St George Illawarra meet Manly in their first home game at WIN Stadium on Saturday night.
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