Barely 18 months ago, Sebastian Kris was a Canberra courier driver.
On Saturday Kris delivered again, only this time it was a match winning try for NRL club the Raiders.
Kris, 22, would have been forgiven for pinching himself after the centre crashed over in the 70th minute to ice a much needed win for a 12-man Canberra at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday following Josh Papalii's send off.
Match: Bulldogs v Raiders
Round 10 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
While it snapped a five-game losing streak for the Raiders, the result also capped a remarkable return for Kris who walked away from the game in early 2020.
Kris made the tough call to take a time out after making his NRL debut in 2019, sitting out all of last season to "clear his head".
He ended up driving a van around the nation's capital delivering packages before contemplating giving rugby league another crack.
"I needed to take a break not only on the field but off the field due to my own circumstances," Kris told NRL.com.
"I had to clear my head.
"I just needed to compose myself physically and mentally and I have come back better than ever."
Raiders get two quickly, this time through Kris
Kris was coy when asked if he thought he may never make an NRL return.
"I tried not to worry about that, that (kind of thinking) was what was clouding my judgement with a lot of things," he said.
But in the end Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was a huge influence when Kris finally determined his future.
When Kris made up his mind to make a comeback, he began training at first with the Raiders' Under 21 NSW Cup ranks before Stuart offered him a train and trial deal in the 2021 pre-season.
When the season opener came around, Kris was in the Raiders starting team and hasn't missed a game since despite the NRL club enduring their recent lean period that sparked rumours Stuart had lost his dressing room.
"Ricky had a big hand in it (return). He has always been like a father figure to me – he helped me out a lot," Kris said.
Stuart wants consistency with new rules moving forward
Kris said Stuart's influence showed how much he cared for his players and laughed off speculation that there was a rift between players and the coach.
Indeed the Magic Round win for Canberra ended a tough period for Stuart in which he had been challenged by home sick English halfback George Williams asking for an early exit, Raiders forward Joe Tapine's wife taking to social media to slam his coaching calls and the stir caused by Josh Hodgson stepping down as captain.
"We just don't listen to the outside noise. It is not always going to be perfect but there are two sides to every story and we know which one we want to listen to," Kris said of the dressing room rift rumours.
Kris said overcoming a gutsy Bulldogs after being down to 11 men for three minutes when Jack Wighton was sinbinned before Papalii was marched in the 61st minute showed they were a tight knit group.
"That was a gutsy win considering we were down two men at one stage," he said.
"It was a big effort to come home with the win.
"It (rumours) can start from anything. We just worry about ourselves.
"We knew we had to get a win and then our confidence will come back.
"This win will without a doubt be a turning point for us."