Some 12 years after Harry Mills began playing rugby - after his farmer father became a corrections officer and moved the family from Moree to Sydney - one of the biggest days of his career is nigh.
The Tamworth second-rower's ascension to first grade will be celebrated by his family and friends when the Magpies play St Albert's at Rugby Park on Saturday.
He actually made his top-grade in last Saturday's round-one defeat of Barbarians. But the 20-year-old had always intended this clash to be extra special - what with it being against his former club, and it serving as the Magpies' headspace fundraising day.
Also, his parents, Janine and Robert, could not make it to the Barbarians game, but will be at Rugby Park on Saturday. "Everyone" he knows will be there.
It's all about family and friends: my good friends, grandparents, parents - they're all gonna come and watch.Harry Mills
"It's all about family and friends: my good friends, grandparents, parents - they're all gonna come and watch," he said, adding that along with Tamworthians, people will be coming from Armidale and Moree to see him play.
Mills spent his formative years in Tamworth after his family moved to the city from Sydney. He graduated from McCarthy Catholic College, and is currently a second-year environmental science student at the University of New England.
He played second and third grade for St Albert's last year - before rejoining the Magpies, his junior club, this season. He now does his degree mostly online.
Mills played most of his junior rugby at prop, but he "shot up" in recent years and was moved back in the scrum.
He enjoyed his season at Albies, whom "live and breath" rugby, he said. "It's pretty fun," he continued, noting that it was "sort of weird" playing for a club that has "four grades consistently".
"It sort of makes it a bit more competitive ... it sort of makes you work for it," he said.
The same applied to New England rugby, he said. "I'd say it's the best comp I've ever been in."
Mills described making his first-grade debut as "awesome". His mind then wandered back to his junior days at the club, when he joined them in under-16s following an under-16 season for Pirates. He had previously played for the Tri Colours.
He recalled having his gap year in Moree, where he worked on farms, before going to uni.
"It was sort of unfortunate that I never got to move up [grades at Tamworth]," he said. "And then to come back, put the hard work in at training and get first grade was pretty awesome.
"I was optimistic [of doing that], to a point. I just knew I had to do the hard work. So every training session turn up, go to the whole pre-season, it will help, and then obviously hope the hard work pays off - and it did, which I was very happy with."
Tamworth made their New England debut last season, with their first win coming in round seven.
Magpies coach Peter Burke had stressed the importance of beating Barbarians last weekend - the 30-19 result ideal as a season launch pad. Burke, a veteran mentor, was "impressed" with Mills' performance against Baa-Baas. He respects the youngster's work ethic.
"Harry's been impressive," he said. "He's been at every [training] session ... and worked really hard. He's a bigger man, so he has to work harder to get fitness."
But as a fit, big man, Mills "injects some venom into the attack", Burke said, adding: "And his weight in the scrum is very important as well."