When Daniel Alvaro won the NSW Cup Players' Player award at the end of last year he said this about a potential first grade call up: "I just want to work hard and see what happens. To play first grade would be a dream come true."
Last Friday that dream became a reality.
One day after his 22nd birthday, the man known as "Polar" took the express lane to a dream he has been hoping would be realised since he started playing with the Mittagong Lions as a junior.
It may have only been a six-minute stint on the field, but it just so happened to be the final six minutes where the Eels hung on to break a four- game losing streak against local rivals Penrith 26-20.
It is a moment he will never forget.
"It was unreal. Unbelievable," Alvaro said.
"I just soaked up all of it and it has just been the best experience ever.
"I can't explain it, it was the best feeling ever.
"Hopefully I get to do it again."
Alvaro, who missed most of the 2013 season with a shoulder reconstruction, worked his way
into the top squad after a stellar preseason, voted as the best by his fellow players.
It followed on from a breakout 2014 season where he established himself as one of the best front-rowers in the NSW Cup.
He continued on his strong form this year and caught the eye after a memorable one-on-one strip against the Warriors that led to a rare try.
Eels assistant coach Steve Murphy said Alvaro's debut was reward for his hard work.
"He brings plenty of enthusiasm, he has been working really hard over the last couple of years at the club and he deserves an opportunity at this level."
Alvaro, a former Queensland under-18s representative, played three years in the Holden Cup with Brisbane and Parramatta.
He hopes to maintain his place in the 17 for the Eels' blockbuster clash against the Cowboys on Monday night at Pirtek Stadium.