The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs endured a heart-breaking 29-28 defeat to Wests Tigers in Round 14 but it was a bittersweet moment for Matt Doorey who made his long-awaited NRL debut on Sunday.
Doorey had been waiting in the wings as a development player this season before earning a spot in the Bulldogs Top 30 squad. He was called upon by interim coach Steve Georgallis and celebrated the milestone with a first-half try that sent the Bulldogs' faithful into ruptures.
Although the one-point loss was a disappointing end for an otherwise special occasion, it was a fitting performance from the fearless back-rower who crafted his trade in the club's Canterbury Cup NSW and Jersey Flegg Cup squads in the past two years.
He's been a big part of the NSWRL Pathways Program playing for the victorious CABE NSW Under 18s and 20s teams in 2018 and 2019, while also playing for the Australian Schoolboys in 2018.
His incredible development culminated into an impressive 54-minute stint in his NRL debut, recording one try, 110m, two tackle-breaks and 21 tackles in a glimpse of what the future can hold for the barnstorming 20-year-old.