When captain Kurt Gidley approached Jake Mamo after Monday night’s thrilling win against the Melbourne Storm to tell him he’d played well and done him proud, the young Newcastle Knight was over the moon.
It was one of the most exceptional moments of his life.
Sitting at opposite spectrums of the playing squad, Gidley a veteran of the game with more than a decade of NRL experience under his belt and Mamo notching his 14th first grade game, for the past few weeks the pair has roomed together on the team’s away trips.
Following the clash at AAMI Park, Mamo and Gidley shared a unique moment when the side returned to the team's hotel late that night.
“He walked in there, gave me a hug and told me he was really proud of me,’ Mamo explained.
“He told me that I did a good job, which was good to hear from a bloke like Gids (Gidley) who I’ve grown up watching since I was eight-years-old.
“It was really special for me.
“It meant the world. The feeling that you get when your idol tells you that, it’s pretty special.”
The ambitious young Knight has lapped up with one-on-one time with the inspirational skipper since they've shared quarters when the team travels away.
“I guess you just get to talk when you’re together,” he said.
“I’ve talked to Gids about his younger years and when he first came into first grade, what he experienced and how he went about it.
Mamo admits he’s trying to get the most out of the mentor before he departs the Club at the end of the season.
“I spent the last year here really, trying to learn from him,” he said.
“As much knowledge as I can gain from him will help my career.”
The team’s impressive upset over competition heavyweights, the Storm, was a surreal experience for the 21-year-old.
“It’s probably the best win I’ve had in my short career,” he said.
“Especially to go down there, and no one really gave us much chance.
“To grind away and win like we did, it was a pretty convincing win, it’s definitely very exciting and hard to sleep last night after that."
The talented tyro values each game he plays on the big stage and considers it another opportunity to grow.
“I still have a lot to learn and have a couple of errors in my game I have to get rid of if I want to play first grade consistently,” he reflected.
“I’ve always played with a lot of effort and a lot of enthusiasm.
“I’m still not the most skillful player and wasn’t when I was younger.
“I do the work on the training field to better those skills and will continue to do so."
Mamo is focused on learning from both his mistakes and accomplishments on the field and can sense success for himself and the Club on the horizon built on the foundations of hard work.
“This year really hasn’t been what we wanted it to be,” he said.
“But it’s been said a lot of times before, that there’s a good mix of young and old in this team and a lot of young kids coming through.
“It will take some time for us guys to learn what it’s like to be a full-time first grader and to perform week in and week out.
“We are going through that process at the moment.
“Hopefully we are building for something for the future and these last few weeks are a glimpse into that.”