The storied career of Dragons great Craig Young is remarkable enough, even before you hear how close it was to never happening at all.
The two-time Dragons premiership-winner and 20-Test veteran's induction into the NRL's Hall of Fame was always a matter of when, not if, in the eyes of many.
It wasn't always the case, certainly not in the eyes of Young himself who had his sight set on emulating his father, and soccer international, Bob's exploits in the round-ball game.
"I didn't even consider playing rugby league as a kid, it was all soccer obviously with dad's background," Young recalls.
"I'll never forget the sports master at Corrimal High School Warwick Allen said they were having trials for the South Coast team to play in the trials for the first Australian Schoolboys side.
"He said 'I'm short a front-rower do you want to have a game?' I said 'I don't know how to play' and he just told me to have a crack and that's the way it happened.
"If it wasn't for [inaugural coach] Roy Masters and the first Australian Schoolboys concept in 1972 I wouldn't have been playing rugby league."
Few have ever picked the sport up as quickly or as well, but his move to Sydney competition from the Illawarra was also a sliding doors moment.
"I was at Thirroul and I had John McCarthy, who played for Balmain, who was great coach then I went to Corrimal and had Oscar Danielson who was a Kiwi International so I was just happy playing there," Young said.
"I got a call from Frank Facer who was the secretary of the Dragons. My father was a coalminer who new the value of a dollar and he said 'knock it back and play for Country again and get more money next year'.
"I said OK but I couldn't sleep so I rang Frank the next day, he jumped in a cab after dad went to work and came down and I signed the contract."
He was Clive Churchill Medalist in the Dragons grand final triumph that season and two years later captained the red v to another at just 23 years of age.
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It showed a wisdom beyond his years, but careers in the police force tend to foster that, and offer other experiences that made the footy field less daunting.
"I spent a lot of my service in the armed hold-up squad so that's certainly grounding," he said.
"But one thing [coach] Harry Bath taught me is you'e just got to get the job done, whatever it is.
"Steve Edge was captain in 77 then we had a poor start to 78. Harry came up to me at training and said 'you're captain this week', I said 'captain of what?' he said first grade and that was it."
His 20 Tests, then a gold standard, included the 1982 'Invincibles' tour, while the first ever State of Origin fixture in 1980 was another highlight in a career that naturally ended up in the game's most prestigious hall.
"It's a humbling experience, I never expected it," Young said.
"I don't think about those things, I'm more focused on tomorrow than yesterday, but it does make you reflect which is good because you start to realise what your teammates and coaches did for you.
"It's a nice thought to be put in that sort of category but it's a team sport and, while these individual accolades are nice, it's really a reflection on my teammates over a long period of time who helped me achieve what I did."