When Tyson Miller learned that his grandfather, Alan Botfield, had organised a post-high school laboring job for him at Carroll Cotton Gin, he wasn't looking forward to leaving his friends in Hervey Bay, Queensland, and returning his former home.
But the experience had an unintended positive outcome: it made the 19-year-old former Gunnedah Bulldogs junior an even better rugby league player, and he recently signed a one-year contract with storied Brisbane club Wynnum Manly.
Miller said his 2019 season - which immediately followed his return to Hervey Bay - was his best ever. He had packed down in first grade with his father, Allan, for the Hervey Bay Seagulls.
When he played his last match for the Seagulls this year, he woke the following day to find a series of messages from various people on his phone.
Two Canterbury Bulldogs scouts were at the game and they wanted to speak to him. He rushed to Hervey Bay Airport and spoke to them.
"But that ended up falling through and Wynnum picked me up, so I ended up signing with them," said Miller, who expects to play second-row in Wynnum Manly's colts side in the Brisbane competition next season.
Wynnum's first-grade side plays in the Instrust Super Cup - Queensland's premier competition. Miller, who left Gunnedah at age 12, will soon commence preseason at the club, including with the first-graders.
The 198-centimetre forward weighs 107 kilograms after adding 9kg to his frame since inking the deal. He did that through "non-stop" eating - "trying to get as big as possible".
He will join a club that has produced some of Queensland's most iconic rugby league players, such as Wally Lewis, Gene Miles, Greg Dowling and Bob Lindner.
"You always expect to go further with your footy," he said. "But it's just happened sort of in the last two months - everything's fallen into place for me," he said.
Miller said his father - who fufilled a dream of playing footy with is son - "was more excited" about his pending move to Brisbane "than I am".