A stroll along Newtown's King Street on a Saturday night presents some different vibes than a trip to the Canowindra Bakery on a Sunday morning.
That's the contrast 22-year-old Regan Hughes is dealing with in 2020 as the former Tigers gun packed his bags in July to move to Stanmore and is now enjoying a Sydney Shield campaign at Ryde Eastwood Hawks.
As promising as Hughes is, the move was a courageous one as he didn't have anything lined up with any squads and had only played one high-level match in Sydney - a trial game for Wests Tigers earlier in the year.
Because he was living in Sydney, Hughes denied Peter Clarke's offer to play for Western Rams in the Presidents Cup competition but the NSWRL Western Manager set up a link between Ryde Eastwood and the rangy redhead, a move Hughes is extremely grateful for.
"It's a really great club." Hughes said.
"I moved here at the end of June and had nothing set up but still came here to play footy. If I didn't tee anything major up, I was going to play with [Jack] Keppel at Cronulla."
While a season alongside Keppel would have been delightful, Hughes can't get enough of Hawks rugby league right now and is fresh off a season-defining game as he debuted in the forward pack and scored a hat-trick.
He'd played the first two games in right centre but after having so much joy on the left edge, would be happy with either spot moving forward.
The Sydney Shield is one of NSW's premier semi-pro rugby league competitions and Hughes was admittedly nervous before making his debut.
"I thought maybe it would be a bit out of my depth," he said.
"But, it's the same as any other game once you get out there. You've just got to adapt to the standard and you're fine."
The short term goal for Hughes is to help the Hawks win a second consecutive Sydney Shield title but looking beyond 2020, he's got a clear objective... to play in the NRL.
"I'm just going to stay here until something happens," he said.
"The main goal is to keep moving up to higher levels."
In life outside footy, Hughes has taken on a cadetship at an engineering firm in the city and says the onset of the Coronavirus might have made the lifestyle transition a bit easier.
"It might have helped because there's a few less people around," he laughed.
"But it's been a busy two months for me. I haven't had much time to think about going back home to Canowindra but we've got a bye soon so I might go back."
Ryde Eastwood's next clash will be a round seven tilt against Belrose Eagles.
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