Justin Harrison could see it almost from the moment Cadeyrn Neville first walked through the doors of ACT Brumbies headquarters a decade ago.
Here was a promising lock from Manly's Shute Shield side arriving in Canberra as a development player, who not so long before was an elite rower with an eye on the Olympic Games.
But former Wallaby and then-Brumbies forwards coach Harrison could sense there was something special about the kid from Sydney's northern beaches back in 2011.
"He would put himself in harm's way," Stan Sport rugby expert Harrison said of the prospect who would eventually sign with Melbourne and have stints in Queensland and Japan before returning to Canberra.
"He would willingly work on some of the small skill sets that go together to make a big action for a second-rower; kick off receipts, scrums, making sure you are a physical presence at the breakdown takes much more than just showing up.
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"He has come back with a very comfortable manuscript or recipe of how he needs to perform to get his core skills right, but also making sure people know Cadeyrn Neville is on the field.
"His work rate is outstanding, his understanding of what a tight forward does and needs to do to influence the game is very good, and that's more about being a physical presence than actually getting your hands on someone and roughing them up.
"He's been very impressive, he has come back with a clear goal to play for Australia, and I really don't think we will have to wait too long before we see that.
"Cadeyrn is certainly displaying all the attributes of what it is to be an Australian Wallaby."
Harrison says Neville has been the best performing lock across all five clubs in the opening fortnight of the Super Rugby AU campaign - a fair compliment from a veteran of 34 Tests and a key player from the Brumbies' golden era.
Neville's next chance to impress comes against one of his former clubs in the Melbourne Rebels at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.
The 32-year-old has been dominating mauls with such class fans are calling for him to be included in Dave Rennie's next Wallabies squad after he was a late call-up to the squad last year.
Neville is on the Brumbies' books until the end of the 2022 season and has played a key role in the club's forward pack as the old head among young locks like Darcy Swain and Nick Frost this year.
Yet Brumbies coach Dan McKellar believes we are still yet to see the best of the giant with a 202 centimetre, 120 kilogram frame who played a key role in the club's charge to last year's domestic title.
Because Neville felt like he had only begun to scratch the surface when he re-signed with the Brumbies last year.
"There has been a number of those stories over the years at the Brumbies and Nev is another one," McKellar said.
"He has been at the Reds, obviously been at the Rebels, he was late to rugby, obviously a very good rower. It's pleasing to see him come here and get better and reach his potential. I don't think he is all the way there yet.
"I think he is someone that can certainly play at international level, he is certainly heading in the right direction there.
"He has got to keep performing well week in, week out, and if he does that then Dave, [Scott Wisemantel], [Matt Taylor] and the boys will certainly take note."
SUPER RUGBY AU ROUND THREE
Saturday: ACT Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm. Broadcast: Live on Gem and Stan Sport. Tickets from Ticketek.
ACT Brumbies squad: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Connal McInerney, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Cadeyrn Neville, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Jahrome Brown, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Nic White, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11. Mack Hansen, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Andy Muirhead, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Harry Lloyd, 18. Tom Ross, 19. James Tucker, 20. Tom Cusack, 21. Ryan Lonergan, 22. Reesjan Pasitoa, 23. Solomone Kata.
Melbourne Rebels squad: 1. Cabous Eloff, 2. James Hanson, 3. Pone Fa'amausili, 4. Ross Haylett-Petty, 5. Trevor Hosea, 6. Joshua Kemeny, 7. Richard Hardwick, 8. Michael Wells, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Matt To'omua, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Reece Hodge, 13. Stacey Ili, 14. Lachlan Anderson, 15. Tom Pincus. Replacements: 16. Ed Craig, 17. Isaac Aedo Kailea, 18. Lucio Sordoni, 19. Steve Cummins, 20. Robert Leota, 21. James Tuttle/Brad Wilkin/Tom Nowlan (TBC), 22. Frank Lomani, 23. Glen Vaihu.
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