It's not often that an NRL debut trumps an Olympic Games but for Cronulla's Lachie Miller a rain-lashed victory over Gold Coast may have just done that.
The 27-year-old former Australian Rugby Sevens player made an eye-catching start to his first-grade career, scoring a long-range individual try as the Sharks secured a 25-18 win over the Titans at a soggy CBUS Super Stadium.
While Miller played for his country at last year's Tokyo Olympics, as a former rugby league junior to be playing in the NRL in front of a crowd that included his mum, partner, infant son and about 30 mates from Coffs Harbour, it was a moment to savour.
"The first eight months at this club have been some of the best of my sporting career so this really topped it off," Miller said.
"I loved my time in rugby union but when I was young, it was a dream to play NRL.
"Since coming back here with this group of boys - you get that term thrown around, it's like family - but it really is.
"They got to a position where I was ready to debut and I can't thank them enough."
Miller's impressive outing finished with 201 running metres and 10 tackle busts as well as his try, when he claimed a loose ball from a Titans kick on the bounce before surging 70m through a staggered defensive line.
"The guy's played in the Olympics Sevens," Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon said.
"The big stage is not an issue for him and the reason myself and Moons (Sharks general manager Darren Mooney) wanted to sign him, was for that reason, he's a developed athlete.
"He's turned 27 now. As an athlete, he's developed.
"He's got good power, good strength and good fitness and he's not scared of big moments.
"Yeah, he's got a lot of education footy-wise to catch up on because he hasn't played the game for a number of years but he's very studious.
"Once he gets that education and continues it, he's a good one."
Fitzgibbon however was quick to scupper any suggestion Miller's debut would create a headache for next Saturday's game against Sydney Roosters with regular fullback Will Kennedy available after a two-game suspension.
"Be a brave man not to pick Will," Fitzgibbon said.
"Lachie's obviously showed that he's capable of that and he does have utility value.
"Going forward, like now that you can see there's an NRL player there, we'll discuss selection later in the week, but Will Kennedy's very important to the team."
Australian Associated Press
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