Only once before have the Wests Tigers played the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on a Sunday afternoon, with the result a stunning upset win back in 2006.
Defending premiers following a fairytale 2005 season — which included a finals thrashing of the Broncos — Wests Tigers' title defence hardly went according to plan the following year, sitting in 12th position heading into a Round 21 clash against a strong Brisbane side.
Few gave the visitors a chance, especially with the likes of Brett Hodgson, Benji Marshall, Paul Whatuira, Bryce Gibbs and Liam Fulton all sitting on the sidelines.
But right from the opening whistle, it was clear that the visitors had still come to play, with the debut of a 17-year-old school kid from Campbelltown called Chris Lawrence set to play out in one of the most remarkable matches in Wests Tigers history.
The Year 12 student made that much clear in the 21st minute, flying past then Queensland international Shaun Berrigan to score in the corner and give his side a crucial 10-0 lead.
After that, it was pure heart and determination to get Wests Tigers over the line.
Lawrence would again feature in the 63rd minute, this time turning provider to send Dean Collis over and put Tim Sheens' side back in front of the competition favourites, before fellow debutant Ben Jeffrey won the race to a Robbie Farah grubber to seal victory.
The result was one that defied all the odds, and one built on the back of a remarkable team effort. But there was no denying the fact that a bright-eyed, long-haired teenage kid from Campbelltown had made all the difference in his memorable first-grade debut.
“Obviously to get a try in my first game against Brisbane in front of a big crowd at Suncorp was something special,” Lawrence recalls of his debut and victory.
“I didn’t even expect to play, to be honest. I was playing SG Ball at the start of the year and then started playing reserve grade because there was no under-20’s at the time.
“I got called up as 18th man and was just going to go and travel for a bit of experience but then Paul Whatuira got injured in the last session so [Tim] Sheens put me in."
Despite the years that have passed, Lawrence still remembers the game — and the celebrations that ensured — pretty clearly. And as far as post-game celebrations goes, the then 17-year-old obviously had plans different to most as he headed back to Sydney.
“I had exams on the Monday so I remember I actually brought some books to study on the way home,” he laughed. “But then I sat next to Chris Heighnington on the plane and he basically told me I was kidding myself if I was going to study now.
"After all, I’d just scored a try in my first game, and we won!
“Once I realised that, I put the books away and just enjoyed the flight home,” said Lawrence. “I don’t remember that exam anymore but I definitely remember that game.”
Brisbane would go on to win the premiership that year, with Berrigan himself taking home the Clive Churchill Medal for his efforts on the night. But he still never got any closer to catching a flying Chris Lawrence on that memorable afternoon in July.
Wests Tigers will take on the Brisbane Broncos again at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon when they do battle this weekend, with kickoff from 4:00pm AEST.