The fact the Newcastle Knights were unable to record a win against the Cronulla Sharks on Sunday didn’t taint the exhilaration of Danny Levi’s first grade debut.
“It’s an amazing experience and is every kid’s dream when they are young to play NRL,” he told Knights TV in the sheds after the game.
“To do that today, it’s a really surreal feeling.”
The 19-year-old Knights junior had his family fly in from New Zealand to be there at Hunter Stadium for his big day.
“It’s good to see everyone and to play in front of them,” he added.
Levi had been building for the moment after playing in the Knights’ Under 20s and NSW Cup side’s since he arrived at the Club from New Zealand three years ago.
“It’s a massive step up with the speed and the physicality of it,’ he said.
“It’s a lot different compared to Under 20s and NSW Cup.
“Hopefully I’ll get a few more games there and will get to adjust to it.”
Looking back on the match, Levi lamented critical moments that cost the Knights.
“It was a disappointing result and there was a 10-minute lapse that we had when they scored three tries,” he said.
“We still had the effort to fight back but is something that we need to go back and work on.”
Having tasted top grade football, Levi says he’s motivated to gain more opportunities to join the NRL Knights’ line-up.
“Hopefully I get more chances and can show Stoney what I can do,” he concluded.
Another young Knight, Jake Mamo grabbed attention on Sunday when he slotted in at fullback.
“It wasn’t the result we were looking for but there were a couple of positives that came out of the game,” Mamo said after the match.
Mamo talked through the exciting moment when he set up a try for five-eighth Carlos Tuimavave by miraculously batting the ball back into play.
“I probably should have just picked it up. When I was watching it back, there was a lot of space there,” he said.
"I toed it on a bit too hard, so I had to dive for it and bat it back in and I just got it in before the line.”
After making seven appearances in the NRL in 2014, Mamo was thrilled for another opportunity in first grade.
“Once again it was great to be back in the NRL,” he said.
“I found it tough and think it’s a lot stronger competition than the NSW Cup.
“I definitely felt the hits a lot more.
Meanwhile, Carlos Tuimavave described what is was like to be on the receiving end of Mamo’s spectacular try assist.
“It happened pretty quickly. I saw the ball rolling in the in goal after Mamo hit it back in and just jumped on it.
“It’s pretty exciting to get my first try for the Knights,” he said.
Tuimavave partnered Kurt Gidley in the halves with Tyrone Roberts and Jarrod Mullen sidelined through to injuries.
“Gidsy (Gidley) is a good player and a good leader as well,” he said.
“Hopefully I can get another game with him this week.
“We gave away some silly penalties after a few tries were conceded and we just made it hard from ourselves and couldn’t defend it.”
It is a short turnaround for the Knights with the team taking on the Brisbane Broncos on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.