Matt Burton has always wanted to play rugby league.
It was clear to see as a kid when he was walking around his house or the streets with a footy in his hand, saying he wanted to grow up to play in the NRL.
And on Friday night the Dubbo youngster will complete that journey when he runs out for the Penrith Panthers.
The Panthers confirmed on Wednesday afternoon Burton would be making his NRL debut on Friday night, an incredibly journey given the 19-year-old was playing for Dubbo CYMS in Group 11 this time last year.
Burton played on the wing during the Fishies' run to last year's decider and the man who played inside him then knows the young gun better than most.
Jyie Chapman is not only a CYMS regular, he's also Burton's brother-in-law and he said it was a pretty emotional time when the 19-year-old made the call to his family to say he was in for Friday's meeting with Cronulla.
"It's unreal," Chapman said.
"I've watched him grow up and been watching him since he was about eight years old.
"To see him grow up and get to where he is now is unreal. I can't be any more proud."
Burton had his first training run with the Panthers' NRL side on Wednesday night and while some of his own teammates knew little of him there, Chapman said the St John's junior wouldn't be out of place at all.
"He was always walking around with a football," Chapman said of the five-eighth.
"He'd be out kicking the ball in the street or going to the oval to kick it around.
"He was football mad and to be where he is now, it's overwhelming really."
Burton made his Group 11 first grade debut midway through 2017, and after spending time with the Panthers' SG Ball team early in the 2018 season he returned to help the Fishies complete an unbeaten regular season last year.
He was part of the CYMS side which lost the decider to Forbes, playing on the wing, but his class was clear to see.
"When he lined up outside me he was great," Chapman said.
"He was a class above the others. He belonged there and it's been the same at Penrith."
Current Penrith teammate Dylan Edwards conceded "I don't know too much about Burto," when speaking on Wednesday but there's plenty within the Panthers side who can vouch for him.
Another Dubbo product and CYMS graduate, Isaah Yeo, spoke about his fellow St John's junior and said he's always been aware of his talents.
"It's a rapid rise but he's been the standout coming through in Dubbo," Yeo said.
"He was always the one highlighted and they thought he'd go on and make something of himself.
"When I was younger, he was always the one coming through. He was the same age as my cousin and I've been fortunate enough to watch him play a little bit of footy - he's been a tall, rangy standout."
Burton began the year so far down the club's depth chart, a NRL debut wasn't on his radar.
He wasn't even on the club's development list and the Panthers had to seek an exemption from the NRL just for him to be cleared for the high stakes clash against Cronulla at Panthers Stadium.
But James Maloney's suspension on Tuesday evening opened the door for Burton, with Jarome Luai injured and Tyrone May unavailable after being sidelined under the "no fault" stand down rule.
Now Burton will be part of a side alongside his fellow CYMS graduate Yeo and also Wellington junior Brent Naden.
The Dubbo young gun will likely take a backseat to halfback Nathan Cleary in the clash with the Sharks, a hugely important one for Penrith given they sit ninth and the Sharks are in seventh.
Regardless of what happens, the match won't change Burton or his ambition to be the very best he can.
"The best thing about Matty is he's so humble," Chapman said.
"There's no chip on his shoulder and that helps make him such a good footballer and role model."