From shipping containers in Port Botany to playing park footy, the career of Sharks back-rower Scott Sorensen has only ever been built on hard work.
After constant rejections and a move to two rival clubs in three seasons, the 25-year-old admitted he's always had the thought in the back of his mind that he may never play in the NRL again.
So when Sorensen showed speed and footwork to zoom over for a four-pointer in his return to the Telstra Premiership on Sunday, he could be forgiven for going overboard with the celebrations.
"I'm not going to lie, I've seen it a few times," Sorensen smiled.
"It was something special. Everyone asks me how do you feel but you can't really explain how, it just happens. The emotion came out when I celebrated after. Having that desire to come back and play first grade, scoring a try was icing on the cake.
"It was really special, being told I was playing first grade again and getting the colours I grew up supporting. It's home for me, a special day to get the win."
Sorensen made his NRL debut for Cronulla in the 2014 campaign derailed by the ASADA investigation into the club. Only four Sharks remain from the side that he played alongside in the final three games of that season.
He departed to the South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2015, but was stuck behind a squad which had just won a premiership.
He was later picked up by Canberra after a strong season for Mounties in the Intrust Super Premiership – but was restricted to just two appearances in the nation's capital.
It was at the point Sorensen made the decision to quit and become an operator at World DP in Port Botany, working day shifts and late nights as a driver to make ends meet.
He leaned on family and friends for support to keep the dream alive of making a return to the top grade and then a two-year contract came from the Sharks after a few games playing local footy in Cronulla and Wollongong.
"Sometimes you've just got to do what you've got to do. I wanted to stay fit by playing footy and being involved," Sorensen said.
"When I was working at DP, I still had a fire in my belly that I wanted to play first grade and the dream was still there. I went away and concentrated on myself and what I needed to do in terms of putting on size or getting fitter, understanding to play the game a little bit more.
"I had a lot of learning. It's always tough and it's always in the back of your head how long you can keep going and that sort of thing. But I just had the fire and desire to get back and play first grade [so] putting that together on the weekend was very satisfying."
Sorensen solo effort puts Sharks back on top
It's no secret the Sharks are on the lookout for forwards with veterans Luke Lewis and Paul Gallen coming towards the end of their careers but Sorensen was just happy to retain his position for the side's clash with the Gold Coast on Saturday.
"That's something I'm not going to shy away from, knowing those sort of things," Sorensen said of possible opportunities in the future.
"At this stage it's just week-to-week for me. Getting the opportunity, Luke Lewis started the week talking about opportunity.
"You either grab it with both hands or shy away from it. I was fortunate enough to get another opportunity this weekend. I'm just taking it slow and as it comes as the week goes."