Gunnedah coach Dan Martin rates him one of the finds for them this season, but if not for the Red Devils reforming an under-19s side last season, Ray Spradbrow might still be in the rugby wilderness.
A Red Devils junior, Spradbrow hadn't played for about four years when he laced up the boots again last season.
"I couldn't find a team," Spradbrow said.
Then last season the Red Devils got an under-19s team going again.
"It was good to get back into it - I'd missed it," he said.
Speaking after the Red Devils win over Quirindi, Martin was full of praise for the 21-year old.
"He's a very light forward but he follows up, backs up, runs the ball hard, and gets around the park very well, and for a young fella he's showing a maturity beyond his years out there," he said.
"I really think he's one of the finds for us this year."
A fitter and machinist at Pryde's EasiFeed, Spradbrow had a couple of runs in second grade last season, "which was pretty good", but had no expectation of playing first grade this year.
He was just looking "to play a bit of footy and have a bit of fun with the boys".
But after impressing through the pre-season, he was thrown straight into first grade and has played every game so far.
"It's been good. It's a very big step up from 19s - a lot harder, a lot quicker and a lot more full-on," he said.
But with each game he is starting to feel more comfortable.
Initially starting in the second row, Spradbrow moved to six in their upset win over Moree, and started there again last week against Walcha, before pushing back into the second row when Tim McDermott dislocated his shoulder.
Usually in a game he does switch between the two.
He has enjoyed playing six.
"It's good - you're running a bit wider and you get a bit more ball," he said.
After being outclassed by the Rams, the Red Devils will be looking to bounce back to winning form when they host Barraba on Saturday.
"It will be a hard game in the forwards, they've usually got a pretty tight pack," Spradbrow said.
Last year there was little between the two sides. The Red Devils snuck home by two points in their first meeting at Barraba but the Rams returned the favour on Gunnedah's home patch, snatching a one point win with a penalty after the bell.
Spradbrow highlighted line speed as one of the areas they need to address from the Walcha game. One of their best aspects against the Bulls the previous week, that same intensity wasn't there and the Rams punished them for it.