Wayde Egan is exactly where he needs to be. And according to good judges like Immortal Andrew Johns, that is a special place.
Karl Lawton rupturing his Achilles tendon at Warriors preseason training has left Egan as the side's No 1 rake.
At the end of the 2018 season, Johns predicted Egan - a 23-year-old Lithgow export, who was a Panther at the time - would be a "top-liner" in "18 months, two years".
In 2019 and 2020, Egan played 36 NRL games (18 games for both Penrith and the Warriors, whom he joined in 2020).
Last season he shared the hooking duties with Lawton. And now destiny is calling, perhaps louder than ever for him.
"This young fella understands what it's all about," Johns said in 2018. "[He] just needs to work on his body, physically, and he'll be a top-liner for sure."
He added: "I hate to say it, but he reminds me of Cameron Smith when he first started."
Sitting in the main grandstand at Scully Park on Tuesday afternoon, Egan said it was "pretty cool" to hear Johns's assessment of him.
"But you sort of try not to get caught up in that sort of stuff," he said, adding that to reach the obits of Storm maestro Smith and Rabbitohs No 9 Damien Cook, he had to take his game "to a whole new level".
"I'll just keep working hard, and hopefully some good things come off the back of that," he added.
The "bulging muscles" Johns said that Egan lacked in 2018 are now present. In short, he looks a treat. The Warriors list him as 185cm and 91kg.
He said he was "keen to lock down" the No 9 spot this year.
And he is hopeful new forward signings Addin Fonua-Blake, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Kane Evans can create "magic" in 2021, and he can "play off the back of them".
The last time Egan was in Tamworth was last May, when the Warriors quarantined in the city. During that stint, they were restricted to the Mercure Hotel and Scully Park.
"It's a bit different now - we've sort of got more freedom to do a few things in Tamworth, which is good," he said.