Luke Gersekowski finds himself wedged between two capped Wallabies on his National Rugby Championship starting debut just 18 months after playing Colts.
Gersekowski will start in the Vikings' No.7 jersey for their round-three clash with Brisbane City at Viking Park on Saturday, with Will Miller ruled out with a knee complaint.
The 20-year-old will link up with Wallabies Pete Samu and Rob Valetini in the back-row, while Angus Allen covers from the bench.
Gersekowski has spent the last three weeks learning some "tricks of the trade" and said "it's crazy" to have his name printed beside them on the team sheet.
"I didn't think it would happen that fast," Gersekowski admitted.
"It's a blessing with the World Cup coming up. While it's unfortunate for blokes like Samu and Valetini to miss out, it gives me the opportunity to play with blokes of their calibre.
"It's so cool and they really are a world above everyone else."
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It's been a whirlwind year for the promising flanker, who has gone from strength-to-strength since returning from an eight-month stint in Ireland.
The former Australian schoolboy played a key role in the Tuggeranong Vikings' finals charge in the John I Dent Cup and coach Nick Scrivener didn't hesitate to hand him an NRC berth.
"Luke's style of game suits how I want to play, particularly after how we played last week," Scrivener said.
"He's quick, tough and an on-baller at No.7. He'll bring a lot of energy and complement Rob Valetini and Pete Samu.
"I've been really impressed with him and he's continuing to develop but certainly being around experienced players in his position will only really benefit him."
Gersekowski came off the bench for the last 25 minutes of the Vikings' loss to Queensland Country last week.
The Canberran said it was "unbelievable" to make his NRC debut but that's nothing compared to having his first start at Viking Park during heritage round.
The Vikings will pay homage to ACT Kookaburras and change their colours to the original blue, yellow and white outfit.
It's a "dream come true" for Gersekowski to make his starting debut at Viking Park, having been supported by original Kookaburra Mark Coyle.
"It's a massive blessing to be picked in the team, let alone wear the Kookaburras jersey in front of home crowd at Vikings Park," Gersekowski said.
"It feels like home to me. I've been watching Canberra play from the sidelines at Viking Park and I have a very close family-friend who was in the original Kookaburras side.
"To put on a jersey that's similar to the one he wore is quite special, I hope I can do him and the other Kookaburras proud."
Gersekowski will line up against former Australian Schoolboy teammates Isaac Lucas and Fraser McReight, with the latter also wearing the No.7 jersey.
The duo made their Super Rugby debuts for the Queensland Reds this year, with McReight playing his first match against the ACT Brumbies.
Gersekowski is one of several players who can use the Vikings' campaign as a step towards a Super Rugby berth, as the Brumbies undergo a changing of the guard.
"Lucas and McReight have kick started their career and are just flying at the moment, so it'll be good to play against them and say g'day again," Gersekowski said.
"I'd love to play Super Rugby one day and that's what I'm aiming for. It's always been a dream of mine.
"Lots of people take different routes to get there and I'm taking my own journey and that's what I want to do."
Brisbane City have scored 72-points in their opening round clashes, defeating Sydney Uni and drawing against reigning champions Fijian Drua.
"Brisbane City are going to be unreal," Gersekowski said.
"They have world class players and have been putting on points, so it'll be a tough one and hopefully it goes off like a frog in a sock. It'll be pretty busy work day for everyone."
NRC ROUND THREE
Saturday: Canberra Vikings v Brisbane City at Viking Park, 2pm.
Canberra Vikings' squad: 1. Fred Kaihea 2. Lachlan Lonergan 3. Tom Ross 4. Blake Enever 5. Darcy Swain 6. Pete Samu 7. Luke Gersekowski 8. Rob Valetini 9. Ryan Lonergan 10. Noah Lolesio 11. Mack Hansen 12. Irae Simone 13. Tom Wright 14. Toni Pulu 15. Andy Muirhead
Reserves: 16. TP Luteru 17. Bo Abra 18. Jake Simeon 19. Nick Frost 20. Angus Allen 21. Joe Powell 22. Bayley Kuenzle 23. George Morseu