Dave Tyrrell has come a long way from a lightweight winger to a 100-game NRL veteran. Credit: Robb Cox. Copyright: NRL Photos.
Dave Tyrrell doesn't wear a cape or his undies on the outside of his pants, but the Rabbitohs' resident Superman fanatic has a 'phone booth' moment of his own to thank for his 100 games in the top grade.
As he suits up for Monday night's clash with the Raiders, a fixture that marks a century of appearance for the 25-year-old, Tyrrell fondly recalls a transformation from wingman to front-rower that has proved to be the making of the Bunnies' very own 'Man of Steel'.
Weighing a Clark Kent-esque 85 kilos, Tyrrell starred on the wing as an 18-year-old with Easts Tigers in the Intrust Super Cup before being invited down to Redfern by Rabbitohs CEO Shane Richardson and former recruitment officer Mark Hughes.
"I came down and did a pre-season, and (went) straight into the -20s from that," Tyrrell says of his formative years in the red and green.
"I played the first few games as a winger and everyone decided I was a bit too big.
"I just got too big, too slow, but I often think I'd like to be back out there having a little rest on the wing. Whenever we play touch out here I gravitate to the wing."
Rumours of a victorious 30-metre foot race against livewire utility Luke Keary – "He hasn't re-raced me since, he's embarrassed" – attest to Tyrrell's glory days on the sting, as does his two-try haul against the Warriors in Round 13.
And the fact he has played every game this season and been a Rabbitohs mainstay for the past three years gives an idea of his value in a star-studded pack that features Kiwi rake Isaac Luke, Origin stars Chris McQueen and Ben Te'o, and of course more Burgesses than you can poke a stick at.
Driving the young Queenslander, who now weighs in at a burly 102 kilos and bears a tattoo of that famous 'S' logo on his chest, is the pain of Souths' two most recent premiership campaigns. Bearing the expectation that comes with an all-star line-up and a title drought that stretches back 17 years before Tyrrell was born, the Rabbitohs have twice come within a single game of a start at the biggest NRL ball of them all.
"I'd like to say the last two years of my career have been probably my best, making semi-finals," says Tyrrell.
"But they've probably been the hardest too. I've learnt a lot of lessons through losing semi-finals. It's definitely something that I don't want to do again.
"I've learnt a lot through those two years... a lot about myself and where I want to be.
"In the past, I've previously been happy just being part of the group but that's not where I'm at now. I want to be a leader at Souths, and I don't want to lose again.
"I've just learnt that it's probably not good enough just to be there. In the past I've been guilty of probably 'Ok, we lost' and been ok with it. But I'm not like that anymore, I want to win."