CHRIS Centrone got his start in rugby league playing for Nelson Bay, now he will play alongside some of the code's biggest names after being selected for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
The 22-year-old, who currently plays for the North Sydney Bears, said he was shocked to see his name on the list of players selected to play for the Italian side in the series.
"I've had a couple of injuries this year," he said.
"When I got the list, I just opened it to see who made the side. I really didn't expect to see my name on it."
Centrone, who has Italian heritage making him eligible to play for the side, said getting on the team was two years in the making with selectors watching his season performance.
Despite limited playing time due to injury, including surgery on his forearm, the footballer made the 25-player squad.
Not a bad outcome after once being told he was an "average park player" by a high school coach.
Centrone played 11 years with Nelson Bay Junior Rugby League before being offered a first grade contract in 2009.
He is pushing for a spot in the South Sydney Rabbitohs backline.
First though he will fly to Italy this week ahead of the world cup to train with the team, which will be captained by NRL veteran Anthony Minichiello from the Sydney Roosters.
Newcastle Knights player Craig Gower and former Wests Tigers second-rower Anthony Laffranchi also feature in the side.
Italy and host country Wales will open the Rugby League World Cup series on October 26.