YOU know a player is special when the brass are willing to change the rules for them. Ask anyone in the know and they'll tell you Dragons rookie Maddie Weatherall is that special.
The Berkeley product only turned 18 on Tuesday, just in time to make her NRLW debut against Brisbane this Sunday after competition rules were amended allowing her to sign a contract prior to her 18th birthday.
The debut is still overdue in the eyes of many who've watched her tally 41 tries in two years with the Steelers Tarsha Gale Cup side - in around half as many games.
She skippered the Steelers to the Tarsha Gale premiership this year and also captained NSW to a 24-4 win over Queensland in the first under 18s women's State of Origin clash - both under Dragons coach Daniel Lacey.
It's seen her likened to Jason Taumalolo and, after being forced to watch on as a development player last season, she's desperate to step up and test herself against the game's elite players.
"Being a development player last year I was training with the girls and then I'd go to the games and I'd just wish I was out there on the field," Weatherall said.
"Unfortunately I couldn't get out there last year and I was a bit nervous coming into this year because I thought I'd still have to wait another year to get the chance to play.
"It's great I do get the chance this year, it's really exciting. It's the best birthday present ever.
"I know it's going to be a lot different to [under] 18's, I won't be standing out like I was. I'm just going to try and keep it simple and do my job."
It may feel like a long time coming but She admits it's surreal to playing alongside Kiwi Ferns stars Teuila Fotu-Moala, Maitua Feterika after regularly checking out her online highlight reel.
"It's always been my dream to play for the Kiwi Ferns so I've watched them a lot and getting to play alongside them is pretty exciting," Weatherall said.
"When I was younger at school I'd go on YouTube and watch all the big hits and all the highlights. I still do sometimes.
"Just seeing their intensity at training has been great and I've I learned a lot just watching how they get through their drills and their preparation."
Sunday still shapes a monster step up for a teenager in her first elite match, but Dragons skipper Kezie Apps has seen enough to be confident she'll handle it.
"I've watched her come through the last few years and she's a really exciting player to watch," Apps said.
"With her strength and power and all her talent she was obviously such a standout in the Tarsha Gale Cup. I'm really keen to see her play in the open women's and see how she adapts to that.
"I've got no doubt she's going to kill it. She'll still be a handful for sure, she's definitely been a huge handful at training with all our other Kiwi girls.
"She's only just turned 18 and it's just scary to see what she can do with a full strength and conditioning program like we have now. I'm really excited to see what the future holds for her."