Seven years ago Sam Wykes was a young hopeful from the Eastern States hoping to break his way into Super Rugby with the Western Force.
Now, even though still 25, he is regarded as one of the club veterans and this season has been handed a more senior role by coach Michael Foley.
Wykes moved to Perth at the same time as winger Nick Cummins and the pair shared a house. Both made their debut in 2008 and have made 59 appearances for the Force.
"I remember when we first moved over together in 2007 and we just wanted to get three games in because that meant you got a proper contract. You weren't a little rookie or an academy player any more," Wykes said.
"From when we first started living at City Beach, just battlers, to come this far and look back and say you've played 59 times and hopefully add to the tally means a lot."
After Nathan Sharpe retired the Force went from one of the top three line-out performers to being in the bottom three, an indication of the influence the former captain had on the side.
Foley said second-rower Wykes and South African marquee signing Wilhelm Steenkamp had stepped up and taken the lead in getting back their place as frontrunners at the set piece.
"Sam has been absolutely excellent in taking a lead there with Wilhelm," Foley said.
"The fact that he's pushing guys harder, he has so much respect within the team, you can see other players responding."
Wykes was coming off a knee reconstruction at the start of last season but still managed 15 appearances.
"I've been working pretty hard with big Wilhelm Steenkamp," he said. "You'll see the boys playing as a team, this year. That's what we've been working at with Zack Holmes and Sias Ebersohn at 10 and Ian Prior and Alby Mathewson at nine directing the ship."
" … he has so much respect within the team, you can see other players responding.""Force coach *Michael Foley *on Sam Wykes