After earning a dream NRL debut in the Bulldogs' 28-6 win over the Sea Eagles on Friday night, back-rower Adam Elliott has already begun looking at the bigger picture of his burgeoning career.
In the days following his debut Elliott was able to reflect on what past teammates have already done before him in the NRL with the 21-year-old ensuring he has the hunger to succeed alongside the game's elite.
"I've always had the dream to play NRL. It was just good to be able to do it, a lot of my mates who I've played a lot of footy with coming up through the ranks are playing NRL now as well," Elliott told NRL.com.
"Blokes like Jakey Trbojevic and Dylan Walker I've played with in representative teams. A couple of the Tigers boys too like Mitch Moses, Luke Brooks and Curtis Sironen.
"It's so real now. As much as it was a dream, now it's a lifestyle that I have to get used to and make it a reality consistently."
With David Klemmer's return from suspension inevitable when the Bulldogs play Penrith on Thursday night Elliott's next game in first grade isn't guaranteed.
Lloyd Perrett is expected to give way at the very least – with Danny Fualalo returning from a virus – Elliott is happy to take a wait-and-see approach to whether coach Des Hasler opts for four front-rowers on his bench or uses the Tathra junior as cover in the back row.
"I'm just happy to be amongst it, it really hasn't sunk in. I just want to make sure that every time I do play that I'm not going through the motions and giving myself the best opportunity to play the week after as well," Elliott said.
"I was just stoked to get my debut and I hope there are a few more games down the track. It's a pretty tough squad to get into. It's full of quality players so I haven't been in much of a rush [to make my debut]. I just knew if I was in there working hard at the right times, and if a spot opened up, I would hopefully be able to grab it."
Elliott's 16 minute stint against Manly came midway through the second half where he made 33 metres and eight tackles.
"It was always going to be hard to tell [how many minutes I would get]. I didn't really want to have many expectations leading into it. I was going to be grateful for what I got and ended up with some good minutes out there," he said.
"The boys were really supportive and shown me that not only do I have a bit of self belief but there's people around me that believe in me too."