The skinny blonde halfback would so often be the first bloke hulking front-rowers would want to pick out of a defensive line.
But Canberra Raiders Cup rivals have been put on notice to make those days a thing of the past when it comes to Goulburn Bulldogs playmaker Nicholas Cornish.
Cornish was instrumental in Goulburn's 34-6 win over the Belconnen United Sharks at O'Connor Enclosed Oval on Saturday.
The emerging half scored two tries in a scintillating attacking display which Goulburn coach Adam Kyle says was born out of his commitment to the cause in defence.
No longer is Cornish one to be targeted - he is determined to leave anyone that comes his way gazing at the bright blue sky.
"I'm really proud of Nicholas, his defence has really improved on last year and I think that's really helping his attacking game as well," Kyle said.
"It gives him a bit of confidence in what he is doing. He scored a double today, he's fast, has good foot, he challenges the line.
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"Defence is the thing that's really improved, he's getting off the line now, he is looking to hit hard.
"Because his defence has improved, and he is feeling really good about it, his confidence is through the roof which for us is great.
"[Confidence grows] the more you start to play at a first grade level, and he has obviously played for Monaro over the past couple of years, and he has taken a lot of confidence out of that.
"Having his two brothers with him in Mitchell and Tyler here as well, they've been doing a lot of work away from training with him, especially in the gym on his strength.
"He is only a really slight kid, but over the next couple of years we're going to see him develop into a fair player."
Nicholas and Mitch Cornish both sat in the top four of the Les McIntyre medal count just two points adrift of the lead when voting went behind closed doors.
They led the way for the visitors at what has been dubbed Shark Park, piling on the points on the back off a foundation laid by front-rower Connor Brebner.
Now Tyler Cornish's looming return from a broken jaw looms as a huge boost for an already impressive Goulburn outfit.
"Hopefully Tyler is back in a couple of weeks and we can really start to build into the last couple of rounds," Kyle said.
"Going into Westies next week, it's a really big game for us. They got a good win over us last time so hopefully we can take a fair bit of confidence out of this and put in another good performance next week."
The Bulldogs won't be the only side riding a wave of confidence into next week after the Yass Magpies stunned the Queanbeyan Blues by four points to collect their second win of the year.
Meanwhile, David Howell's decision to lace up the boots again saw a brave Gungahlin Bulls outfit go within a whisker of pulling off an upset.
Bulls coach Howell, a veteran of 60 NRL games and 109 Super League and Challenge Cup appearances, made his return to action as the club battles through a nightmare injury crisis.
But Gungahlin fell agonisingly short in their bid to salvage a draw in a 26-24 defeat at the hands of the Tuggeranong Bushrangers at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval.
The Bulls jagged a late try to slice the deficit to two points but the conversion went wide.
AT A GLANCE
Canberra Raiders Cup round 12 - GOULBURN BULLDOGS 34 (N Cornish 2, M Cornish, T Greenwood, C Hart, D Stephens tries; C Hart 5 goals) bt BELCONNEN UNITED SHARKS 6 (S Tupoula try; T Aroha-Tuinauvai goal)
YASS MAGPIES 36 (J Mecham-Crane, B Davis, W Peace, J McDonald, B Maher, J Smith tries; J McDonald 3, S Davis 3 goals) bt QUEANBEYAN BLUES 32 (C Woolford 2, J Stuckey, M Cullen 2, J Hitchins tries; M Parsons 4 goals)
QUEANBEYAN KANGAROOS 38 bt WODEN VALLEY RAMS 16 (S Henderson, B Robertson, S Kaufusi tries; L Withers 2 goals)
TUGGERANONG BUSHRANGERS 26 (N Low, M Dragisic, J Pollard, J Baker, C Massen tries; J Mitchell 3 goals) bt GUNGAHLIN BULLS 24 (D Howell, D Hately, R Macanawai, M Fellows 2 tries; B Robinson 1, D Hately 1 goals)