The wheel of fortune appears to have turned for Pita Godinet, the wannabe Warrior with it all to play for during the club's pre-season trials campaign.
A casualty of his birth date after an impressive tryout for the Warriors' inaugural NYC team in 2008, the gifted halfback was forced to watch as contemporaries such as Sonny Fai and Patrick Ah Van took their seats on the fast track to the footy big time.
Having missed the cut off for the age-restricted competition by just 10 days, Godinet was left at the station.
Three years later - years spent toiling as a fulltime welder and part-time footballer with the Auckland Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup - Godinet is again hoping to be picked up. He's close. Tantalisingly close.
After starring for the Vulcans last year he was offered a training contract by the Warriors. That runs until the end of February. He'll then either be offered a fulltime deal or start scanning the situations vacant columns.
"I don't have any back-up plans," he said this week during his first encounter with the media.
All going well, he won't need one anyway.
Spectacular might be overstating it a touch, but Godinet's first up effort against the Knights in Greymouth last Saturday was certainly eye-catching.
If he can repeat that sort of performance in coming weeks the club's decision will be straightforward enough.
Things are certainly falling Godinet's way. While the Warriors are stacked with contenders for the halves berths, many are out of action.
No 1 halfback Brett Seymour is suspended
for today's trial against Parramatta in Rotorua while back ups Isaac John and Shaun Johnson
John is expected to feature next week against Burleigh in Whangarei after recovering from a knee reconstruction, but Johnson
faces an extended spell on the sidelines after damaging a disc in his back during a kicking session.
The upshot is that Godinet will see a lot more game time than he might have. He will get the chance denied to him three years ago. Godinet played his way back onto the Warriors' radar by steadily improving at the Vulcans. But it wasn't until coach Ivan Cleary realised he was still just 23 that the club began seriously considering him.
"When I found out how young he was I was like 'this is interesting'," Cleary said.
Interesting because last season's breakthrough star James Maloney had followed a similar developmental path, and interesting because first-choice hooker Aaron Heremaia has already proved than a player on a trial contract can quickly become an NRL fixture.
"I've been speaking to Azza [Heremaia] and he's been giving me tips about what he did when he started," Godinet said. A natural halfback who possesses pace, excellent ball-playing skills and an inventive short kicking game, the main knock on Godinet is his defence. Not big to begin with, he lacks the muscle mass of a full-time professional.
"It would be easy to look at Pita over the last couple of years and go 'he's going to be a liability in defence'," Cleary said.
But the club is more interested in what he might be like with some serious coaching and weight training behind him.
"Look at guys like [Shaun] Berrigan and Lance [Hohaia]," Cleary said. "They are small guys by NRL standards but if you saw them down the beach you'd think they were Greco Roman wrestlers or something. If you saw Pita down at the beach you'd say that guy is in pretty good shape but you wouldn't know he is a footballer."
The difference isn't lost on Godinet.
"There are guys there who have been doing weights since they were 16 - I've just come off the street raw."
He is, however, already showing signs of catching up.
"In today's game [smaller players] get isolated and opposition players run at them," Cleary said. "That is part of the deal and you've got to be able to handle it. He's still got a way to go, but even last week there were a couple of signs that he is better already than last year."
Godinet's combination with emerging star Glen Fisiiahi during last week's opening trial against Newcastle looked particularly smooth for a reason. The pair play flag football together for a team called Natural Skills.
Given Fisiiahi's speed and power and Godinet's instinctive playmaking ability, it's a fitting name.
He doesn't much like blowing his own trumpet but Godinet concedes the description "flair player" is about right.
"I am a risk taker on the field. If it doesn't come off then 'hey, next set'. That's probably why Ivan Cleary always tells me to play it safe. Before it was just go out there and play. Now it is a lot more technical."
His career highlight to date was being called into a star-studded Samoa side to play the Kiwis at Mt Smart last year as a late replacement for Ben Roberts. The Samoans were hammered 50-6, but Godinet scored a late try.
"That was the best feeling of my life. When I got called up for that game I was like 'is this for real? You want me to play?'
"I was over the moon, just buzzing out. I couldn't believe I was playing against the world champs. There were heaps of big names, and everyone was like who is this Pita Godinet?"
We might be about to find out.