Matt Burton paid tribute to the memory of great mate Sam Fraser after delivering a standout performance in his NRL debut with the Penrith Panthers on Friday night.
Burton looked at home in the NRL and took just minutes to show his class with an inch-perfect kick setting up the game's first try for Wellington junior and Penrith centre Brent Naden.
He continued to hold his own throughout the match, his kicking game in particular earning rave reviews from commentators, as the Panthers ran out 26-20 victors over Cronulla.
Burton was then left in tears post-game and was mobbed by family and friends in the stands as he celebrated with them.
There was plenty of emotion from all those who had made the trip from Dubbo to Panthers Stadium, and Burton said Fraser continues to inspire him.
Burton was childhood mates with Fraser and featured in the halves alongside him in junior footy grades before he tragically drowned while swimming at Churchies Reserve in December, 2016.
"Words can't describe how much this means," Burton told Fox Sports post-game, with the word 'Frase' again on his wrist.
"It means everything to me. He'd be watching me and he's made me so proud."
Nathan Cleary also had a huge amount of praise for his young halves partner, with Burton's composure and confidence allowing the former NSW halfback to deliver one of his best performances of the season.
Burton's class showed especially in the final 10 minutes when, with the Sharks threatening a comeback, the former CYMS star took it upon himself to roll the ball into touch to give his tiring forwards a chance to catch their breath.
It all came after a whirlwind week, when Burton was only called up after regular five-eighth James Maloney was suspended at the judiciary on Tuesday night.
The Panthers required special dispensation from the NRL for Burton, who started the season in the under-20s and had played just four Canterbury Cup matches prior to his promotion.
Burton then delivered a hugely promising showing, and proved he can be the man to take Maloney's number six jersey full-time when the premiership winner departs for the Super League next year.
He finished with 58m from nine runs, 12 tackles, one offload, and a try assist.
"To do it front of family and friends, it's a dream come true," Burton said.
"I'm speechless. It's crazy."