They call rugby the game played in heaven. And on a temperate autumn afternoon at Rugby Park on Saturday, 16-year-old Harry Snook had a heavenly first-grade debut for Tamworth as the Magpies remained undefeated with a 42-17 statement defeat of Barbarians.
Promoted to first grade in the absence of goalkicking centre Joe Evans after a brief reserve-grade stint, the year 11 Calrossy student scored four tries on the wing and was lethal with the boot, too: his try tally and sevens goals, including three penalties, giving him a match points tally of 37.
It was a record top-grade points haul for Tamworth, while his try haul tied the club's first-grade record.
Magpies replacement Zac Johns posted Tamworth's fifth and final try late in the match, with Snook, imbued with confidence, slotting the conversion from out wide on the lush ground's grandstand side.
The teen, one of the region's best juniors, showed excellent finishing ability in crossing for his first two tries out wide.
But it was his third try that really underlined his class: he fielded a kick about 10 metres inside his own half and sold the dummy to several Baa-Baas defenders en route to scoring.
His final try came when he tracked back inside, while screaming down the grandstand touchline, and pounced on No.10 Cooper Thompson's grubber and then raced about 40m to score under the posts.
The Magpies' wily mentor Peter Burke cut short a post-match interview the Leader was conducting with Snook. He seemingly wanted to shield his young charge from the media glare.
"He's a champion - just go with that," Burke said as he slung a protective arm around the teen and led him away.
Perhaps Burke just wanted to get Snook into the dressing room so the side could celebrate behind closed doors with a rousing rendition of the team song - the sixth time the undefeated, ladder-leading Magpies had done so this season.
In any event, the significance of the occasion was not lost on Burke, who said: "He's made himself look good, he's made the selectors look good, the crowd's enjoyed it, it's at his home ground - special days like that don't happen very often in rugby."
He added: "But I'm sure there's plenty more special days in line for that young player. He's pretty handy, isn't he?"
It will be real hard for Burke to leave Snook out of the starting side against the Blues in Armidale next Saturday.
However, the inform Evans - a doctor at Tamworth Hospital and the competition's leading points-scorer ahead of the round-seven clash against Barbarians - will come straight back into the team when he is available for selection.
Burke said he did not know how long he would have Snook's services given his pedigree.
Snook said that being selected in first grade "means a lot" to him. "And then having a game like I did, I was pretty fortunate. But yeah, really lucky."
Tamworth led 25-3 at halftime.
It was Tamworth's biggest win of the season, and followed a defeat of reigning premiers Rob College in the previous round.
TAMWORTH 42 (Harry Snook 4, Zac Johns tries; Snook 4 con, 3 pen) d BARBARIANS 17 (Brendon Murphy, Bert Faint tries; Bill Hyde 2 con, 1 pen)