Orange Emus and Central West centre Lachie Harris thought he'd done "alright" in NSW Country Rugby Union's initial selection camp earlier this year - not good, not great, just alright.
So, as you can imagine, the call he got from Cockatoos coach Shaun McCreedy on Wednesday night wasn't one he expected.
McCreedy was calling to let Harris know he'd done enough to earn his first Cockatoos jersey, and that he'll be on the plane to Adelaide for next month's National Rugby Championships II.
He's one of six Caldwell Cup-winning Blue Bulls to make the 25-man touring squad, with Dubbo Kangaroos' Mark Baldwin, Harden's Shahid Khalfan, Geurie's Filisione Pauta and Forbes duo Mahe Fangupo and Charlie French named too.
THE FULL SQUAD: Check out the full NSW Country Cockatoos group...
It's not a bad little early birthday present either, Harris turns 25 on Sunday.
"It's pretty exciting, definitely," Harris said, although he admitted he might have underplayed the nod in his mind a little bit.
"I was already stoked with it and I don't want to say I took it for granted at all, but I guess I didn't really realise how big a deal it actually is until I spoke to a few of the old boys around Emus.
"It was unexpected. I thought I'd done alright at the trial but I wasn't particularly confident of getting picked, so it was a bit of a surprise."
Harris' nod comes a full five years after missing out on a Cockatoos Colts jersey he now admits he thought was coming his way.
He was among Central West's best in their rampant 2014 Rowlands Cup win, but just three of the group were named in the NSW Country side.
I guess I didn't really realise how big a deal it actually is until I spoke to a few of the old boys around Emus.Lachie Harris
"I think there was a few guys who thought they might have got a run that year but it obviously didn't happen, that was a long time ago though," Harris laughed.
Largely considered the premier inside centre in the Blowes Clothing Cup, Harris said he's been told his role at the NRCII will largely be in the middle as well, although he could be used on the flank.
NSW Country will come up against the likes of Queensland Country, Victoria Country, Tasmania, Western Australia and Northern Territory in Adelaide.
"Hopefully I just get some game time," Harris laughed.
"They've said they'll look to use me in the middle and even as wing cover if it's needed so I'd assume from that I'll probably run from the bench, which I certainly don't mind.
"I'm not really sure what to expect, but it'll be good, I'm looking forward to it."
Harris also said he's stoked for this fellow Blue Bulls and now Cockatoos teammates, in particular Khalfan who, as a bolt from the blue, ended up winning player-of-the-tournament in Central West's triumph.
"It's great to see a few of the other Central West boys get picked, I think it sort of adds a certain comfort level because I've played with most of those guys for the last couple of years," Harris said.
"I'm really pleased for all those guys, you look at someone like Shahid and I don't think he was really on the radar until the pre-season New Zealand trip with Central West, so that's great."
Harris did say he won't be looking to the NRCII just yet though, he's got a premiership to hopefully win with Emus first, with the next job Saturday's preliminary final against Cowra.
"That's the focus, I won't think about the country stuff too much until the season's done and hopefully won," he said.
"It'll just be a month of hard training after that until we go to Adelaide."
- NSW COUNTRY COCKATOOS: Lachie Harris, Mahe Fangupo, Charlie French, Mark Baldwin, Filisione Pauta, Shahid Khalfan (Central West), Tom Baker, Jack Hobbs, Dane Nethery, Wayne Ngatai, Cody Roman, Aisake Tuevu (Illawarra), Josefa Biu, Jordan Clark, Tyrone Davies, Ethan McGuinness, Kevin McNamara, Atunaisa Turagabeci, Josh Vainakolo (Central Coast), Travis Brook, Vitori Buatava, Harry Chapman, Ben Damen, Alex Gibbon (Far North Coast), Kye Marshall (Mid North Coast)
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