NOT in Charlie Staines' wildest dreams could he have imagined how his NRL debut would have panned out.
Just running out had always been the ultimate goal.
The former Forbes Magpies star got his chance on Saturday afternoon and he made it count in a huge way, scoring an incredible four tries as the Penrith Panthers ran riot against the Cronulla Sharks.
With close mates from Forbes in the crowd following him one from end of Kogarah to the other after half-time, Staines played on the wing and was the hero as the Panthers moved to the top of the ladder by downing the Sharks 56-24.
"To even play this week was a dream come true," he told Fox Sports immediately after the stunning debut.
Staines was named in the extended squad earlier in the week, as he had been a number of times already this year, but on Thursday Panthers coach Ivan Cleary came to him and told him he was in.
He was whacked by the Sharks defence in his first run in the top grade but the Panthers' 2019 Jersey Flegg player of the year had the last laugh.
The four tries was part of another memorable night for the western area as Wellington junior Brent Naden starred inside Staines in the centres, scoring his side's first try and being heavily involved throughout, while Parkes' Billy Burns also scored in the second half. Dubbo product Isaah Yeo again got through a huge amount of work and led from the front.
Billy Burns, a Parkes Champion Post favourite, played 33 minutes; managing a line break, two tackle breaks and 13 tackles to go along with his try in the 55th minute.
But it was all about Staines, who also set up a try for Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards after showing lightning speed along the wing.
The former Magpies favourite became the first debutant to score four tries in his debut since Jordan Atkins achieved the same feat for the Gold Coast in 2008.
It also continued a stellar rise as it was only in September of 2018 that he played fullback in both the Forbes under 18s and first grade grand final wins at Apex Oval.
"It's been a whirlwind," Staines said of the whole week.
"To score even one try on debut, but to score four it's unreal."
Staines added the instructions from Cleary had been simple in the lead-up.
The coach had faith in him and told him to back himself and his first 40 minutes alone were special as he scored a first try right in front of his fellow Forbes juniors before laying on the four-pointer for Edwards.
But things went from great to amazing in the second half as he ran in three more, including his side's final two tries in the last 10 minutes as the Panthers went past 50 and past Parramatta on the ladder.