As a five-year-old Brandon Wakeham once graffitied his family home in celebration of the Bulldogs' last premiership.
Now just two months past his 20th birthday, Wakeham will don Terry Lamb's famous No.6 jersey in Thursday's expected sold-out season opener against the old enemy Parramatta.
A proud local graduate of Lamb's old junior club, Chester Hill Hornets, he will partner Lachlan Lewis in the halves at Bankwest Stadium in round one.
His three first-grade games are matched by as many Tests for Fiji, and Canterbury have Wakeham pencilled into their future with negotiations around a new deal beyond 2020 underway.
Wakeham has been with the Bulldogs since he was 14 and impressed the likes of Brad Fittler in his rise through junior representative ranks, but his blue and white bonds go even further back.
"I remember being a young kid living in Chester Hill, I just wrote Sonny Bill Williams's name up on the brick wall outside the house," the young half grinned on Monday.
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"Mum and Dad weren't too happy with that. It was a black texta across the bricks in the front yard. I would've been five or six after the '04 grand final.
"It was facing the street, it wasn't too big but it was big enough for Mum and Dad to see it."
A childhood filled with Bulldogs posters, jerseys, Belmore Oval visits and photos with those star-studded sides of the 2000s has led Wakeham to this latest Eels grudge match.
As a Westfields Sports High School graduate, Wakeham could easily have followed the likes of Jarryd Hayne, Eric Grothe jnr and Stefano Utoikamanu into Parramatta's famed junior catchment.
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Even Westfields alumni-turned Bulldogs David Klemmer and Trent Hodkinson started out in blue and gold, but Wakeham has only ever had his heart set on Canterbury.
His parents were part of an emotion-charged jersey presentation before his NRL debut in June.
They were suitably chuffed again when Wakeham was confirmed as Kieran Foran's replacement at the scrumbase, and will be in the stands at Bankwest Stadium for the latest edition of the Bulldogs-Eels rivalry.
"We came into training last Saturday and Deano [coach Dean Pay] just put the team list on the board and I was there at No.6," Wakeham said.
"I did call my missus but she didn't answer so I called my dad. He was at work, he answered so he got the news first and he was excited and pretty happy for me. I called my mum after that, they all knew pretty much straight away after training.
"She always gets carried away, she gets nervous. She was probably jumping up and down at work. She said 'I've got to go tell work that I'm not working Thursday now'. She's taking the day off to come support me.
"She's loved the Dogs ever since I think she was small. So my whole family goes for the Bulldogs, they'll all be there on Thursday."