JINDABYNE isn't exactly rugby league heartland.
Located near the Snowy Mountains in the state's south, it's probably better known for nearby snowfields, a large lake and hydroelectricity.
However, 22-year-old Thomas Cronan has managed to find a way from Jindabyne to Canberra and then Newcastle via his sport of choice.
"I've been pretty lucky," the premiership-winning Souths centre told the Newcastle Herald. "It's been a pretty good ride so far."
After kicking off with soccer and rugby union, Cronan switched codes aged 14 when he joined the neighbouring Cooma Stallions with his brother and mate, now Cronulla Sharks player, Jack Williams.
Soon after he found himself playing Harold Matthews Cup (under 16s) and SG Ball (under 18s) for the Canberra Raiders followed by under 20s at the NRL club.
But after a pre-season with the senior "Green Machine" squad, as well as Auckland Nines appearances in 2016 and 2017, he missed the cut.
Although initially disappointed an opportunity arose up north at the Knights via then NSW Cup coach Simon Woolford, whose son Zac had previously played with Cronan in the nation's capital.
But before he could line up for the Knights during 2017, he needed a local club game under his belt.
One of his former Canberra mentors Brett White touched base with then South Newcastle coach, now Brisbane Broncos assistant, Ben Cross.
Having made a "last minute" trip to the region, Cronan found himself in the sheds with the Lions less than 24 hours later.
And a maiden first grade run at Souths entails an unexpected surprise.
"When you make your debut at Souths you've got to sing a song," Cronan said.
"Normally you do it at training during the week but I didn't arrive until the Friday and we played on the Saturday. So I had to do it in the warm up before the game.
"I can't remember what I sang but I know it wouldn't have sounded good."
Cronan featured in around 20 reserve grade games for the Knights across 2017 and 2018, as well as scoring a match-winning try for Newcastle's top squad in a trial against the Storm in Melbourne last year.
He was eventually pushed back to Souths last season and ended up on what he describes as the "grand final train", scoring a try for the Lions in a successful Newcastle RL decider.
Charlestown-based Cronan, who is studying business at university and working at Queens Wharf Brewery, reckons "energy" remains in Souths' "young squad". The second-placed Lions have the most, eight, regular round games left.