12 months of madness for the Prince of Belmore
A lot can happen in 12 months. Just ask Lachlan Lewis.
A year ago the Canterbury young gun was told he could look elsewhere, as the Bulldogs couldn't see him fitting into their first-grade plans any time soon.
He stuck with his beloved blue and white, and mid-season he was promoted to the club's top roster and thrown an NRL debut. That was a goal he had set at the beginning of the year, ticked off.
He would go on to play nine NRL games and cement himself as one of the first-choice playmakers at the club. He's set to line up alongside Kieran Foran full-time in 2019.
Then Lewis was married to his partner, Steph. Then the couple learned they would be having their first baby. A little girl is due in May.
Now Lewis has a new set of goals.
The list includes returning Canterbury to NRL finals this year. His partnership with Foran is hoped to make that happen.
And longer term, Lewis wants to represent Queensland in State of Origin, just like his uncle Wally famously did.
"Last year I wanted to play first grade and now it's about setting goals where I'll achieve the most," Lewis said.
"It's not how many games I'll play, how many wins. I want to take the team, if I can, to the finals.
"And with no timeline here, I want to play State of Origin. As you can sense with my family that's a huge thing.
"Finals is this year. Especially being an underdog I'd love that."
It's a significant leap from where Lewis found himself just 12 months ago.
The uncertainty around his rugby league career created anxiety, and the youngster admits it was tough to deal with.
He leant on Steph, his parents, and his grandparents for support as he fought to keep the dream alive.
"There's a lot less anxiety. Twelve months ago I was told I wouldn't be able to play first grade. So there's that self doubt, that limited capacity gone," he said.
"Overwhelmed? Of course. Definitely. Especially because this is not only your livelihood but your biggest dream since you were two years old.
"Luckily enough I had a grounded life outside football, if ever it got too much I could just tap out."
And Lewis certainly does have plenty happening away from the football field.
Aside from the looming birth of his first child, he and Steph have a business to run.
A couple of years ago they started a baby clothes company - Parker & Co. - which is a "niche" they hope can take off.
Lewis admits he lets Steph handle the creative side of the business, but he's hoping to entice his Bulldogs teammates to get on board and dress their children in Parker & Co. clothes.
"I'm the worst. Luckily I'm not the visionary. I just do the repetitive tasks," he laughs.
CAPTAINCY SHOCK: TIGERS CHOOSE NINE-GAME LEADER
FAT CHANCE: BENNETT RESPONDS TO GI WEIGHT CRITICISM
NOT A JOKE: GALLEN HITS BACK AT FIGHT CRITICS
NEXT JMOZ: YOUNG PUP CONSIDERED STAR OF THE FUTURE
'TAKING THE PISS?': McGREGOR DELIVERS SHOCK SELECTION NEWS