Makahesi Makatoa will be the third oldest debutant in NRL history when he takes to the field for Parramatta against Manly on Saturday.
And, a major influence in Makatoa’s stunning rise has been Wentworthville Magpies current boss Ryan Carr.
The duo first got to know each other at Canberra, where Carr was coaching the Raiders’ reserve grade side.
Of course, the duo then found themselves on the other side of the world when Carr took on the Featherstone coaching job with Makatoa following in his footsteps.
The New Zealand-born forward more than caught the eye, excelling in the pack to such an extent that Salford offered Makatoa a full-time contract.
But when Carr got a chance to coach at Parramatta, Makatoa took up the option to follow his managerial friend once more.
“He felt he had unfinished business because he wanted to make it in the NRL,” Chris Rogaris – Makatoa’s manager – said.
“He let that [Salford] opportunity go, which is pretty courageous.”
The Eels currently sit in fourth place on the NRL ladder, but face both Sydney and Manly breathing down their necks.