Warriors prop Albert Vete has exploded from the other side of the toughest period of his young career with a two-try haul in his side's 50-14 win over Newcastle on Saturday.
In a season of highs and lows so far for the 23-year-old, Vete was forced to balance life alongside his pregnant partner with a sense of uncertainty following an early-season indiscretion involving five of his teammates.
Vete was the designated driver on the night Manu Vatuvei, Bodene Thompson, Sam Lisone, Ben Matulino and now-Titan Konrad Hurrell failed to meet team standards by participating in a mid-week drinking session just days after the Warriors' huge Anzac Day loss to the Storm.
All six men found themselves in NSW Cup as a result, with Vete only managing to make his NRL return last weekend against the Broncos.
Of the indiscretion, Vete was thankful for the support from all aspects of his life and showed how much it meant to him with a 'baby cradle' celebration after scoring the Warriors' first try against the Knights.
"The support of my partner, my family and obviously the club was massive for me. The club was always wary of my wellbeing because they wanted me to move on and play footy. That's what I wanted as well," Vete told NRL.com.
"It was a massive lesson for me going forward. I know some young players when things like that happen go through with hardly any support and because of that they have a lot more pressure put on them.
"That period was mostly hard because I was getting down on myself and I was worried about my family and how the public would look at them. I'm really glad I was able to get through that and had the right support and help around me.
"I just want to play footy, that's my job. I shouldn't complicate that – I just need to play footy."
Vete's first child is due in the next week and he said a mix of excitement and nervousness has consumed him as his life off the field has finally been able to be mimicked on it.
Vete also believes his five-game exodus in NSW Cup has set him up for a huge backend of the season following a fortnight of barnstorming showings where he has been a late inclusion in the front row in favour of Matulino.
"My missus and I don't know the sex of bubba just yet so it's going to be exciting. I'm nervous as well but we're so excited. It goes to show when things are going well at home then it reflects on your footy," Vete said.
"I definitely gained some confidence back in NSW Cup and I had to because when I was finally given another chance in first grade it would help me bring the heat and bring energy to the team," Vete added.
"I want to play first grade and I know I have to show 'Cappy' (Warriors coach Andrew McFadden) that I'm worthy of competing at that level because it's a tough environment sometimes."