Melbourne Rebels young gun Jack Maddocks says he wants to earn his Super Rugby debut the hard way after his shock call-up to the bench late last season.
Rated one of rugby's hottest properties, Maddocks joined Melbourne for a few training sessions in July just two weeks after signing but an injury crisis saw him named on the bench for their final game against the Reds.
The 19-year-old fullback didn't make it on to the field but said it was actually a good thing.
"It was a massive shock to be on the bench but I had mixed emotions about it," said Maddocks, who starred for the Australian under 20s this year.
"I felt I didn't really deserve it as there were plenty of other players, not just at the Rebels, who had trained their hearts out from the pre-season right through but didn't get the opportunity.
"I think that if I'm going to make my debut it will be more satisfying if I do that hard work first."
That attitude has impressed Rebels coach Tony McGahan, who said Maddocks would be in the mix for their opening match against Auckland on Feb 23.
He could slot straight in at the back as cover for Mike Harris, who is now playing in France.
Maddocks' sporting future appeared to lay with cricket, on a scholarship with Sydney Uni and playing first grade, while he only played in the thirds in his last year of schoolboy rugby.
His transition hasn't been without hurdles, contracting glandular fever which saw him return to Sydney under his mum's care and derailed his NRC season.
"It actually may have been a blessing in disguise because I'd played rugby for 10 months straight and I'd never had such a huge workload before.
"I was sleeping 17 to 18 hours a day but I'm feeling really good now for the pre-season."