Matt Eisenhuth says the football gods couldn't align one more time for him to play alongside his cousin, former Australian and NSW lock Paul Gallen.
In re-signing with Wests Tigers on Friday until the end of 2020, Eisenhuth effectively put to an end any chance of linking with Gallen in the same defensive line.
"We were pretty lucky my debut game was against the Sharkies (round 15, June 2017) – the stars aligned for us that time," Eisenhuth told NRL.com.
"It's just one of those things that if our paths converged it would have been a great opportunity to play with him.
"I was more focused on cracking first grade rather than wanting to crack it beside him I suppose.
"I thought I was lucky with my debut to be against him. I'm sure we'll bang heads again a few more times. I hope so anyway – I don't know how long he's hanging around for but I hope he is."
Cronulla could have used a versatile middle forward like Eisenhuth, 25, who plays in the front row as well as No.13. But Eisenhuth didn't test himself on the open market because of his desire to keep improving at the Tigers under coach Ivan Cleary and his staff.
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"He's helped me become a regular first-grader and that's a big part of why I'm staying," Eisenhuth said of Cleary's influence.
"And I want to repay that faith and keep improving. My carries can fade in and out of games... as a front rower or lock I've got to be able to help the team going forward.
"I have the ability to ball-pay and pass and I have the ability to run and create opportunities so I want to learn more to see what's in front of me and play that," he said.
"That's what I'm working on with the coaches at the moment – picking my time to pass; picking the right time to run. If I get a good balance with that then my game and my metres will certainly improve."
He's played 22 NRL games for the Tigers - his 23rd will be on Sunday against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.
Cleary can see the potential of his 197cm-tall forward.
"Since making his debut last year Matt has become a key member of our team," Cleary said.
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Eisenhuth said he used to call Gallen for advice and information as he tried to plot his rugby league career after high school.
"He was really helpful but as I've gotten older I relied more on the people and players around me," he said. "Last year I had Australian front rower in Woodsie (Aaron Woods).
"And this year I have Kiwis internationals Russell Packer and Ben Matulino to pick their minds."