It's nine hours of flights for just 36 minutes of football, but for Canberra product Harley Smith-Shields it was all worth it.
The young Canberra Raiders outside back got his first taste of NRL life in the Nines in Perth, scoring a try against a star-studded South Sydney side on Saturday.
Canberra lost both of their group games to miss out on progressing to the finals, going down to the Rabbitohs 29-8 on day two and 27-10 to the Gold Coast Titans on Friday night.
They jumped out of the blocks to grab leads in both games, but couldn't hold on against far more experienced teams.
The Raiders' focus is on much bigger prizes, having made last year's NRL grand final.
But Smith-Shields was one of a number of youngsters to impress at the Nines, along with fellow outside back Matt Timoko.
Timoko scored two tries against the Titans.
Having had a taste, now Smith-Shields has his sights set on making his NRL debut.
There's a potential opening on the Raiders' right edge, following the departure of Joey Leilua to Wests Tigers and the uncertainty surrounding Curtis Scott's immediate playing future.
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Smith-Shields was the Raiders under-20s' player of the year in 2019 and has been rewarded with a senior contract.
While he wants to get an NRL call up, he's only focused on playing for Mounties in a trial against Penrith next weekend.
"That's definitely always the goal every year [to play NRL]. That's why we're all here. That's where we're all trying to get to," Smith-Shields said.
"I'll just do the best I can wherever they put me.
"I'll hopefully play this trial on the weekend and get back to work."
Smith-Shields was born and bred in Canberra and came through the Raiders junior grades - just like fellow outside back and friend Nick Cotric.
They went to Erindale College and played schoolboys under-12s together.
Cotric has taken the 20-year-old under his wing - as has Raiders winger Bailey Simonsson.
You couldn't ask for better role models than those two.
"Me and Bailey get along really well, we're close friends, and I grew up with Nicky so we get on as well," Smith-Shields said.
"All the boys are really good. They take care of the younger boys. We've got a real tight-knit [group] here and they all bring us in and do what they can to bring us up."
The Gungahlin Bulls junior said it was dream come true to wear the lime green at the NRL Nines.
"It was unreal running out here to the atmosphere here in Perth. It was really good, such a good experience," he said.
"It's been really good. It's been a big experience playing against the top-grade boys.
"It's just the pace of the game and especially the Nines it was a bit quick.
"The physicality was up there as well, but that's just what you get when you're playing first grade."