Fate handed him an opportunity but Sunshine Coast prospect Nick Timm is now determined to take his starring role for the Australian Universities team and turn it into an Intrust Super Cup spot next season.
Timm was named player of the tour after the Australian team wrapped up their two-Test series win with a 24-20 victory in Greymouth on Sunday having won the first Test 23-22 in Christchurch on Thursday.
Presented with an opportunity to join the tour when his younger brother Lachlan had to pull out after signing with the Melbourne Storm, Timm was expected to be used sparingly off the bench but injuries to props Jack Burke and Ethan Price in the warm-up game thrust Timm into the starting team.
The Redcliffe Colts front-rower stepped up to the mark, playing big minutes in both Tests and giving his confidence a sizeable boost as he looks to take the step up into Queensland's premier competition in 2016.
"I really didn't expect to get an award or anything like that coming over here," Timm told NRL.com.
"I was a late call-in for my brother, he had to pull out at the last minute so I thought I'd put my name down and then ended up coming along.
"It's been a great experience and I've managed to play some good footy over here which is good as well.
"It's my first time out of Australia too so it was a bit of an eye-opener.
"I'll have great memories and a fair bit of confidence that I can take into the pre-season. I'll be pretty motivated to get going and have another big pre-season."
Previously on a two-year contract with the Brisbane Broncos while at school, Timm has spent the past two seasons playing for Redcliffe in the Colts competition and juggling work as an apprentice carpenter.
Long days on the job and the commute from the Sunshine Coast to Redcliffe for training will see Timm switch from carpentry to study to become a PE teacher over the summer but his primary goal is to follow his little brother into an NRL system.
"I was on a two-year contract with the Brisbane Broncos senior academy through Grade 10 to Grade 12 but then didn't end up getting re-signed," he said.
"I ended up signing with Redcliffe and played Colts there the last two years which has been great. I've learned a lot there and come very far as a player.
"I'm really enjoying it down there and just hopeful of making it into the first grade side and making the most of that opportunity.
"I had a bit of trouble keeping it up with training at Redcliffe and working as a carpenter. I was leaving at 5 o'clock in the morning and I wasn't getting back some nights until 11 o'clock and then trying to get up again and do that every day took a bit of a toll.
"I'm looking for a massive pre-season and giving myself the best shot of getting into a Queensland Cup side."
Timm won't be the only Australian Universities representative looking to make the leap to Redcliffe's Intrust Super Cup team next season with halfback Mitch Wilson the man of the match in the second Test after steering the Colts team to the Preliminary Final this year.