As Matt Burton made his way back to his position after scoring his third try at Apex Oval on Sunday he wandered close to the sideline and was greeted with a flood of applause and cheers from his hometown fans.
And while he was still firmly focused on the task at hand as there was still half an hour remaining in the Penrith Panthers' NRL clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, he couldn't help but think about what was happening.
"You get chills," he said of the moment
"You walk back there and everyone is yelling your name and it just gives you chills. To be back at home and have the fans, family and friends here is unbelievable."
Burton was the star of the show on Sunday as his hat-trick highlighted the Panthers' destructive 56-12 win over the Rabbitohs in front of more than 10,000 fans at Apex Oval.
The St John's junior bagged two first-half tries to help his team to a dominant 30-6 lead and then completed the treble as the competition leaders continued their outstanding start to the season.
The win was the Panthers' 11th straight to start the campaign but this one stood out to Burton and his fellow Dubbo product Isaah Yeo.
"To come back to the home town and put in as performance like that was pretty special. I can't believe it," Burton said after the win.
"You dream as a kid to play footy in your home town but to do it in the NRL, there's not better feeling and I still can't believe it."
Burton had played out many scenarios in his head during the week about how the match at home might pan out, but none included the thought of a first hat-trick in the NRL.
While he reaffirmed after the match he considers himself a five-eighth, the 21-year-old continues to look completely at ease in the centres for Ivan Cleary's Panthers.
His first try came in the 25th minute after four-pointers for Nathan Cleary, Viliame Kikau and Kurt Capewell had already shot the Panthers out to a 16-0 lead.
He had the simple job of finishing off a right to left move that featured both halves Cleary and Jarome Luai while Burton's second came in eye-catching fashion.
The young gun soared above Rabbitohs winger and former Panther Josh Mansour to haul in a Nathan Cleary bomb and he had no trouble planting it down.
The third was not quite as picturesque but just as special. Mansour allowed a Cleary bomb to bounce and Scott Sorensen was on hand to push it back and Luai batted it on, allowing Burton to scoop it up and dive over in the corner in front of delighted fans.
The hat-trick and victory was a far cry from Burton's last games at Apex Oval in 2018, where he lost both a Group 11 under 18s and first grade grand final to Forbes Magpies sides featuring current Panthers teammate Charlie Staines.
The 'Forbes Ferrari' was kept relatively quiet in Sunday's win but Burton said it was a far better feeling to be celebrating a win with him this time.
To get a win like that is pretty special.Matt Burton
"It was good to win one with him and to do it in the NRL, there's nothing better," Burton said, laughing about the banter between the pair during the week.
"It got brought up a fair but between me and him. He said he had got a few up on me so it's good get a win with him out there.
"To get a win like that is pretty special."
The Panthers now sit comfortably at the top of the table with their 11 straight wins and stunning points different of 280.
They next meet the Canterbury Bulldogs, the club Burton has signed on with to play for from next year.
Having previously stated numerous time he would have loved to have kept Burton at the Panthers, Penrith coach Cleary revealed on Sunday playing him regularly at centre was part of the deal the club offered the former Western Rams star.
But Burton said he's content with his decision as he'll get the chance to play his preferred position at Belmore.
"I think I'm a five-eighth," he said.
"I've made a decision and I'm happy where I'm at so I'm just looking forward to the challenge."
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