He is the young Kiwi rookie who grew up wanting to be an All Black and had never played rugby league until his final year in high school.
But less than four years on, young Newcastle Knights forward Jirah Momoisea is poised to benefit from hooker Danny Levi's pre-season move to Manly by earning a new upgraded contract and a spot in the club's top 30 roster for this season.
Hooker trialist Chris Randall is also likely to be rewarded with a development contract that will make him eligible for a potential NRL debut after June 30.
Momoisea, 21 was plucked out of a high school rep league carnival in Auckland by the Melbourne Storm back in 2016 and spent a year in their junior system before being lured to the Knights.
The young frontrower made 20 appearances in NSW Cup last season but coach Adam O'Brien sees him as a "project player" after making the decision to turn him into a backrower.
"He is a young guy who still has plenty to learn but he's got some athleticism and the backrow is a spot he could really develop into," O'Brien said. "He's a bit of a project player for me to see where we can get him to."
Momoisea, who is currently on a development deal, admits a top 30 spot in the roster and a contract extension is the goal and he is looking forward to the chance to play in the backrow.
"At the start of the pre-season I think Adam liked how I moved and how quick I was kind of thing and he saw that I might fit as a backrower more than a frontrower," he said. "I'd love to debut this year but I've just got to keep working really hard."
Levi's five year stint at the Knights officially ended on Tuesday with the former Kiwi Test hooker set to train with the Sea Eagles for the first time on Wednesday after securing a one year deal.
He addressed his now former teammates at training on Tuesday morning to say his farewells.
Levi's future had been the centre of plenty of speculation after he was told he was free to negotiate with rival NRL clubs last season despite having a year left on his $375,000 contract. Manly will pay him around $225,000 with the Knights agreeing to a $150,000 payout for his early release.
During his five seasons in the top grade, Levi played 83 NRL games but struggled to cement the number one hooker ranking under former coach Nathan Brown despite playing four Tests for New Zealand during that period. His papers were marked even before Brown lured hooker Jayden Brailey from the Sharks last season.
With Momoisea set to join the Knights' top 30 in place of Levi, it leaves two spots remaining in the roster. One of those must be filled prior to the start of the competition while the club can wait until June 30 to decide on the final position.
O'Brien and recruitment boss Alex McKinnon rubbished rumours linking the club to Souths duo Adam Doueihi and Alex Johnston.