GROWING up, Reuben Garrick would regularly jump the fence at Michael Cronin Oval to kick goals - usually at halftime in Gerringong Lions games.
It's a rite of passage in the league-mad South Coast town, but he never imagined he'd surpass the legendary point-scoring feats of the ground's namesake.
The 24-year-old has now done that, and more, after becoming the first ever player to notch 300 points in an NRL regular season in Manly's 46-18 win over the Cowboys on Saturday.
His 304 points - 21 tries and 110 goals - in 24 outings is 22 more than the 282 points Cronin managed in the most prolific season of his storied career in 1978.
Still "pinching himself" over the milestone, Garrick said he must've absorbed something special from the hallowed home turf.
"We practice at Mick Cronin Oval so there might be a little bit of [magic] about that," Garrick said.
"It's a town that loves sport and the Gerringong Lions. Everything revolves around it. Every Saturday there's a game on, everyone will be on the hill.
"As soon as it's halftime, everyone jumps the fence and you'd play touch footy or kick a few goals.
"I was lucky enough to be coached by Crow in 2015. I finished the 20s season at the Dragons and came back and played first grade with Gerringong. We won the premiership that year.
"He has that aura about him, especially in the Gerringong community. There's very few people who have that and every time he speaks you listen."
The history-making feat seemed far beyond the realms of possibility just three years ago when he was deemed surplus to requirements by the Dragons - his junior club.
He departed without cracking first grade, drawing on a career lifeline offered by a Sea Eagles club coming off a 15th place finish in 2018. It's a dramatic turnaround for career at a crossroad so early in the piece.
"It's a record I'm still pinching myself about," he said.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would've happened, especially where I was at with the Dragons.
"I don't think it's an individual accolade, it's a reflection of how the team's going too. I'm playing with some great teammates that are having exceptional years.
"The more times we get over the stripe the more shots I get at goal. I'm very grateful to be in the position I am today."
Having sealed a top-four berth with the win over the Cowboys, moving past Brett Hodgson's 308 points in a premiership-winning year with the Tigers in 2005 seems fait accompli.
Hodgson's mark took an incredible 58 points in five finals outings, including a hat-trick of tries and nine goals in a 50-6 win in week one.
The 2005 Tigers played a similar brand of football to the current Manly crop, and Garrick will need to produce something almost as special to go past Hazem El Masri's all-time mark of 342 points achieved in the Bulldogs 2004 premiership run.
There's no question Des Hasler's side are the entertainers of 2021, though some have questioned whether it's a brand of footy capable of knocking off heavyweights in the finals furnace.
Garrick doesn't share those doubts heading into his side's week one showdown with title favourites Melbourne but - like the overall fortunes of his team - his pursuit of point-scoring records could rest on the superlative form of fullback Tom Trbojevic.
"I think it'll depend on how well Turbo's playing," Garrick said when asked about his El Masri pursuit.
"Our brand of footy can definitely hold up in the finals. You play the game because you love it and you love to have fun.
"That brand of footy that we play is working so well and it's because we're having fun with it and we're never afraid to chance our arm or pull the trigger.
"You build confidence off past performances and when you get a roll on it can definitely flow and it's contagious. We just need to have everyone in the team play their best game on the day."