It wasn't Nick Cotric's piece of match-winning brilliance that impressed Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart the most, it's the way he's handled his rise into the NRL.
Cotric scored a crucial try to help guide the Green Machine to a 30-18 victory over a spirited Parramatta Eels at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.
It continued the Raiders' success in front of their past greats with their unbeaten run continuing whenever they hold their "Forever Green" reunion.
Last year they smashed Wests Tigers 60-6 at the inaugural reunion and it looked like they were on track to blow the Eels off the park with a brilliant first-half.
But an Eels fightback, on the back of a Corey Norman moment of magic, made for a riveting finale.
It wasn't until Cotric burst out of dummy half about 30 metres out with 11 minutes to go that their fans could relax.
He went on a speculative run, split the Eels' line apart up the middle of the field and then stepped Parramatta fullback Bevan French to score the winning try.
It's his second NRL try in just his fifth game since joining the senior squad this season.
"The thing that impresses me the most about him is the way he's handling it because he's been playing very good football," Stuart said of Cotric.
"He's on the end of a very good attacking team and he's controlling his attitude extremely well, which is a credit to a young man."
The Raiders produced their electric attacking football in the first half, with halfback Aidan Sezer celebrating his 100th NRL game with a beautiful grubber kick in goal for Sia Soliola to run onto to the opening try.
He also produced a cross-field laser that set up centre Joey Leilua's four-pointer, which was sandwiched between Blake Austin capping off some exhilarating Jordan Rapana pace and captain Jarrod Croker's 100th career try.
Rapana showed why he's become one of the best wingers in the game, not only running for 172 metres but also burning off former Kangaroos flyer Semi Radradra down the sideline before tossing it inboard for Austin to score.
But Stuart warned the Raiders couldn't just blow teams off the park any more.
"We won't win as many games by the amount of points that we did last year. Team's are ready for us now," he said.
"If I want to be the same football team as last year I'm kidding myself and we have to get better ... I know we can attack, but there's other areas of our game we need to improve now."
French scored the Eels' only try of the first half and then played a role in their second, a try that began the Parramatta fightback.
But it was down to a Norman 40-20 kick that rolled into touch just metres from the Raiders line.
It swung the momentum the visitors' way and just moments later French's flick pass put Michael Jennings across and the comeback was very real when Eels hooker Kaysa Pritchard dove over out of dummy half minutes later.
Clint Gutherson's conversion made it a four-point game with almost 30 minutes remaining.
Slowly the Green Machine got themselves back into an armwrestle before Cotric produced his moment of brilliance.
Eels coach Brad Arthur was left lamenting his team's inability to play a full 80 minutes.
"They're a good team. Four weeks ago they were one of the premiership favourites," he said.
"We're pleased that we could come out and start the second half the way we did. I challenged the boys at half-time and they responded really well."
The Raiders now have a tricky road trip to the Gold Coast, while Parramatta head across the ditch to face the New Zealand Warriors having lost their last three games.
AT A GLANCE
CANBERRA RAIDERS 30 (Sia Soliola, Blake Austin, Joey Leilua, Jarrod Croker, Nick Cotric tries; Jarrod Croker 5 goals)
PARRAMATTA EELS 18 (Bevan French, Michael Jennings, Kaysa Pritchard tries; Clint Gutherson 3 goals)
at Canberra Stadium. Referees: Gerard Sutton and Alan Shortall. Crowd: 17,653.