Just over a year ago Aidan Guerra was struggling with niggling injuries and was in and out of first grade.
Fast forward twelve months and the injuries are gone, and on the back of hard work and a determined attitude Guerra has finally started to realise his potential, the proof, a jersey in arguably the greatest team ever.
Last night the boy from Townsville answered a phone call from the coach who oversaw his transformation and it was with the news he had been dreaming of as a boy, but probably only just recently deserved, he was now officially a Maroon.
Arguably the biggest bolter in the Queensland team for a number of years, the man himself is still shocked by his selection.
“It’s all pretty crazy and I’m not sure that it’s sunk in just yet,” Guerra said.
“Since I decided that footy was going to be the avenue I followed, I wanted to be at the pinnacle and that sort comes true on a week on Wednesday at Suncorp.”
“It was really special to hear the news from Robbo, after a couple of seasons now of hard work underneath him.”
Not one to exaggerate, Head Coach Trent Robinson said the selection is a just reward for the way the Queenslander has applied himself over the past twelve months.
“He’s discovered himself a bit and some great form at the back end of last season, then had a big Finals Series and was then a part of the World Cup where he played a couple of great games before coming back and earned his starting spot with us in 2014” Robinson said.
“He’s been very important, especially this season, and he’s earned his right to be a starting player in our pack amongst some other really good back rowers.”
“He’s understood his game really well, he’s fought hard, carries the ball really well and he’s worked hard in defence.”
“He understands defence now and has been really physical and also been hard to tackle and has earned this Maroons jersey.”
Never one to be shy on any occasion, the humility in Guerra’s voice when talking about the selection is obvious to all that know him, the magnitude of the occasion clearly not lost on the proud Queenslander.
“I just want to do them proud,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the team, the way they play and can’t wait to become a member of such a great team in history.”
“I’m just going to take advice when it’s given and learn what I can from all the experience, plus get on board with the amount of passion within this group.”
Always thinking ahead, Robinson said it was now up to Guerra to show he can take his game to the next level.
“It’s good that he gets opened to this experience, but then the next bit for him is backing it up,” he said.
“He’s been selected, but now he’s got to prove his worth on the big stage. That’s what makes players.”
Robinson also pointed out that the selection is a great reflection on the success of the club.
“It’s not only a big step forward for him but also the Club and the players around him here at the Roosters that have given him the gift of the Origin jersey,” he said.
“It’s a big achievement by the team and it was a big moment for me personally to be the one to be able to call him.”
Sounds remarkably similar to every single Roosters Fan who come next Wednesday night, regardless of which state you support, will be proud to call Aidan one of our own.