On the day rising Warriors star Eliesa Katoa made his NRL debut, his mother wished him well and then hung up the phone.
She was oblivious to what his son was about to put himself through.
The 20-year-old forward has revealed his Tongan-based family know virtually nothing about what he does to earn a living.
Hailing from the tiny village of Koulo in the Ha’apai group of islands, Katoa admitted he grew up dreaming of playing rugby union for Australia or New Zealand.
A college rugby scholarship lured him to Auckland three years ago but childhood goals were derailed when the Warriors offered him a contract to switch codes last year.
With just 13 games of rugby league under his belt, Katoa made a stunning first grade debut against Newcastle three months ago.
“I called my mum and told her I’m about to make my debut for the Warriors but in Tonga we don’t have any TV or anything like that, so they haven’t got any idea about the NRL,” he said.
“I told her ‘mum, I’m playing NRL’ and she’s like ‘oh cool, just look after yourself son and play your best’.
“She doesn’t know it’s a big thing, but they’re really happy for me.”
Katoa’s bulldozing form has been among the few highlights for the Warriors in an interrupted season dominated by their quarantine efforts in Australia and three lacklustre losses from four games.
His only modest performance came in last week’s 26-0 loss to Penrith, something he vows to put right on Friday against North Queensland.
Fresh from being named the team’s player of the match in both of their March fixtures, Katoa signed a four-season extension.
“I always thought I’d be playing for the All Blacks or Wallabies, I’m a rugby boy,” he said.
“But in my mind back then it was just to help my family out.”
The next goal is to give his mother a first-hand look at what he’s achieved.
“That would be the best day ever in my life if I ran onto the field and saw my mum standing there in the grandstand looking at me,” he said.