Just on 11 years ago, Daejarn Asi was a 10-year-old fan boy in an orange top captured in the crowd waving a Vodafone Warriors flag.
Today the now 21-year-old, born and raised in Christchurch, will run out as Vodafone Warrior #269 in his club debut against the Canberra Raiders at Moreton Daily Stadium in Redcliffe.
Asi’s family presented him with his debut jersey earlier this week during what has been a frantic few days since he joined the club from the North Queensland Cowboys.
And it was at that presentation that the family mentioned the photo of the young Daejarn.
It was snapped on Sunday, May 8, 2011 – Mother’s Day – when the Vodafone Warriors beat the Gold Coast Titans 34-14 at Skilled Park (now Cbus Super Stadium).
Move on 11 years and Asi has had so much to take in this week.
On Tuesday morning he was telling his North Queensland teammates that he had signed for the Vodafone Warriors for the rest of that season. A few hours later his move was officially announced, he was on his way to Redcliffe and he had been named in the Vodafone Warriors’ extended squad for the match against Canberra.
Move on to Wednesday and he trained with his new teammates for the first time, had a scheduled day off on Thursday and trained for just the second time yesterday trying to establish a connection with the players, not least his halves partner Shaun Johnson (10 years Asi’s senior).
Going back to that photo on 2011, Johnson was still a few weeks short of making his NRL debut that season.
He was with an extended squad which travelled to Australia for a two-game mini tour which took in the game against the Titans and then the Knights a week later.
A 20-year-old Johnson would make his debut as Vodafone Warrior #168 against the Sydney Roosters on June 4, igniting a run which would see him go all the way to the 2011 grand final against Manly Warringah.
Now 4010 days and 211 appearances later, that 2011 rookie Johnson and the 10-year-old boy in the crowd line up alongside each other for the Vodafone Warriors. A story to remember.