After signing a new deal with the South Sydney Rabbitohs and pre-season and then being named in Wayne Bennett's starting side for this weekend's opening round, Braidon Burns has every right to be feeling on top of the world.
But the Coonamble junior's joy will be mixed with sorrow when he runs out in Friday night's season opener against the Sydney Roosters.
Burns' grandmother, the women who raised him during most of his time out west, passed away shortly before the Charity Shield match at Mudgee earlier this month.
Burns played that game in her honour and helped the Rabbitohs to a strong win and he's out to do that same on Friday.
"(I'm playing for) Her and my grandpa. He passed away a couple of years ago and I always play for them," Burns said this week.
"I grew up with my grandmother so it was a big loss for me. But she would have wanted me to play at Mudgee and she would have wanted to me to put my head down and get back into footy so that's what I did."
Burns has been the main beneficiary of Robert Jennings' off-season switch from the Rabbitohs to the Wests Tigers.
The former Western Rams junior, who played only five NRL games last season after making 10 in his first year with Rabbitohs in 2017.
Burns and Greg Inglis will feature in the centres on Friday night, but Souths coach Wayne Bennett and Burns himself are yet to confirm which side the pair will line up on.
Burns has been named at left centre, while Inglis has been shifted to right centre.
The Rabbitohs' left edge was electric last season with Inglis and the departed Jennings benefiting from the world of five-eighth Cody Walker and wide-running back-rower John Sutton to pile on the points.
That quarter scored 48 of Souths' 104 tries last season, and Burns is relishing to the chance to be part of the action.
"I believe Cody is the most underrated player in the NRL," Burns said.
"To play outside him, I'm really looking forward to it if I get that chance."