Slade Griffin owes it all to his mother.
A single parent raising three children in New Zealand, Debra worked a fulltime job and managed the local rugby league team.
If it wasn't for her, the No.9 might not have made it.
But having seen the sacrifice and work ethic of his mother, Griffin wasn't lacking in motivation.
At 16, Griffin made his first representative team for Canterbury which meant a six-hour round trip drive from Greymouth to Christchurch twice a week.
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"She did everything," Griffin told newcastleknights.com.au.
"For starters she was a single mum raising three kids on her own.
"She was my footy team manager, pretty much from when I started playing footy until under 17s.
"She'd get the kit bag, take it home and wash all the jerseys and shorts, ring all the boys and tell them when training was, where the games were and then for me when I made a couple of rep teams, she had to take me over to Christchurch which was a three-hour drive one way.
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"I wouldn't be here without my mum."
To make it in the NRL, talent alone, is rarely enough.
It takes hard work, commitment, belief and sometimes a bit of luck to make it at the top level.
Timing is everything.
Whether it's an opportunity through injury or time to develop.
Some players mature quicker than others.
For Griffin, it's was a combination of most of the above.
He's had to work hard to make it as an NRL player. He's still working hard.
Five years after debuting in Melbourne, he's found a home at the nib Newcastle Knights.
The decision to join the Knights was an easy one.
While he loved his time with the Storm, securing a starting spot was near impossible.
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Blocked by Cameron Smith in the No.9 and behind Dale Finucane at lock, Griffin knew he needed to leave to secure a start.
Since leaving the Storm, Griffin has had time to reflect on his many ups and downs while in Victoria.
The highs included a premiership ring in 2017, while the lows were spent in rehab recovering from cruel injuries.
ACL injuries. All three of them but he got through it with his mum by his side, just like he will as he recovers from his fourth knee injury.
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"I was living with a few boys, so I had to call her because they weren't going to be able to help me out too much," he explained.
"She helped me with my operations. I had a little bell because I was stuck on the couch. I had to ring the bell and she'd get me a drink of water or fill my bag of ice or get me something to eat.
"She's always been there, as has my partner (Grace). She was like my personal nurse."