South Sydney's 'Unicorn' ready for finals tilt
While he's missing the required tail, a spiralled horn atop his head and the hooves to classify as the legendary animal, Coonabarabran Unicorn junior and Rabbitohs back-rower Kyle Turner is firing ahead of his first crack at finals football.
A mystical beast usually found in the Forbidden Forest in Harry Potter novels, this particular Unicorn can be found in the South of Sydney, scouted from the wild west for their SG Ball team for the NSW CHS team back in high school.
Readying himself for his 22nd first grade appearance, Turner spoke of the emotions currently rearing their head before Souths' clash with the Sea Eagles on Friday night.
"I'm feeling a bit of everything, mate," Turner explained to NRL.com.
"Excited, nervous but I think more than anything prepared.
"Having watched finals football ever since I was young you can see that extra intensity in it. We're all just hoping to rise to the occasion."
Superstar Greg Inglis sung the 22-year-old's praises by labelling him "terrific throughout the year being as young as he is", and Turner's determination to impress has been a mantra of his since debuting back in Round 3 – a moment where his preparedness was replaced by a stomach full of butterflies.
"It was very nerve-wracking that first game. I couldn't explain the nerves but it has been a great transition to first grade," Turner said.
"The boys have made it so accommodating by making it an easy step up for me, with just the way they have taken me under their wing."
While Turner has an inevitable showdown with New South Wales and Australian representative Anthony Watmough to look forward to, the rookie isn't worried about any number of the brilliant individuals in the Sea Eagles team – instead choosing to focus on the team as a whole.
"We are just preparing as if it is a normal game," Turner said.
"Manly are a tough side, it is just a matter of now preparing for a game as any other game.
"The likes of Watmough are great players and they have good halves... but basically we're just focusing on them as a team. If you only focus on one then they're going to make you pay for it."
Having undoubtedly made everyone proud out Redfern way, Turner is more than complimentary of mentor Michael Maguire, considering his frustrating run with injuries in NSW Cup with the North Sydney Bears last season.
"[Madge] has taught me to believe in myself more," Turner said.
"My confidence has been down the past couple of years so he has really shown me that I can play first grade and deserve to be there."
While he won't be trotting around his opponents at Allianz Stadium on Friday night, the Sea Eagles need to tread carefully around this particular beast.