James Tedesco began his playing days at Campbelltown Sports Stadium with a win — and he hopes to repeat that when the Wests Tigers host the Newcastle Knights on Saturday.
A Menangle product and former St Gregory's College student, Tedesco, now 22, first stepped onto the stadium's turf more than 10 years ago.
However, he was met with much less fanfare back then.
"The first game I remember was when I was in year 6 and we played a game to get into the state final," he said. "We played for about 10 minutes at half-time [during the Wests Tigers game]. We won though."
He was a regular spectator at Wests Tigers games when growing up. While players like Benji Marshall brought most fans through the gate, Tedesco was lured by the game's greats.
"I remember when the North Queensland Cowboys came and everyone went to watch JT [Jonathan Thurston] play," he said.
"We thought it'd be amazing to actually see him play live."
The fullback no longer has to buy a ticket to watch the Cowboys star play.
"It does get a bit surreal when you look at it like that. But I try not to think about that and just play footy. I don't want to be overawed by the situation."
It's been a season to forget for the Wests Tigers and Newcastle, with both clubs no prospect of playing finals football this season. While a premiership trophy may be out of the question, the dreaded wooden spoon looms.
"This is a danger game for us," Tedesco said. "I think we perform better against the top teams — we play better against higher-quality opposition.
"Dane Gagai has also been in pretty good form so we'll have to be on our toes."
To celebrate afternoon footy at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Wests Tigers have organised family fun activities including an obstacle course, jumping castle, inflatable sports game, face painting, photo booth, DJ, giveaways and take to the turf after the game. Kick-off is 3pm.