When Braye Porter started receiving messages of congratulations while on a family holiday, he thought his family and friends were mistaken.
The Western Rams fullback had already been named in the NSW Country Under-16s side following a breakout Andrew Johns Cup campaign, but that had been many days before.
But after some further investigation he and his family realised he'd been named in another squad altogether: the NSW Rugby League's Junior Blues Program.
"We'd been getting text messages about it saying congratulations and we didn't know what was going on," Braye told the Daily Liberal during the week.
"It was about an hour after it was announced on Facebook."
Mum Kerry said: "we didn't know, but we were actually notified by email".
"I'm still pinching myself," Braye admitted.
The 2019 campaign was Braye's first with the Rams, after he was last year a part of the Penrith Panthers junior cubs program.
The St Johns Dubbo junior loves playing at fullback, and drew enormous praise for his work in attack with halves Kyle Mawhinney (Parkes Marist) and Cooper Egan (Lithgow Storm).
"It gives me more room with the ball, I guess, being that one out the back with the halves and you can play more eyes up footy and see where their defence is lacking," said the ever-humble Braye.
"It was pretty good running off both halves ... but most of all it was our forwards who helped us go forward in defence and getting out of our own end."
Braye had "no words" to describe his feelings about being one of only five Western Rams chosen for the NSW Country Under-16s' tour of the United Kingdom in November - let alone his Blues selection.
The latter included a letter from none other than NSW Origin coach Brad 'Freddy' Fittler, inviting Braye to "become a member of our High Performance Unit" and congratulating him on "a great achievement and one you should be very proud of".
Braye's NSW Junior Blues journey starts on Monday with his first training camp at the NSWRL's new Centre of Excellence.
He'll attend a range of camps - including trial matches and position-specific training sessions - during May and June, before the NSW Junior Blues team is finalised for a State of Origin feature.
Braye "definitely" hopes to make it to the NRL one day, but wisely acknowledges "there's a lot of steps and obstacles along the way".
"Hopefully through these pathways, you can get a start down in Sydney after school, but the main thing is to finish school down here and then see what's on offer," he said.
He thanked his family and coaches for their guidance over the years, and urged other young athletes to "take everything on board and the good things will pay off through your own hard work and effort".
"We're pretty overwhelmed with it all and still pinching ourselves," Kerry said.
"He's a really hard worker so we thought he might be able to do something with that. We're very, very proud."