JETS rookie Lucas Mauragis has been learning on the fly since he left the family home in Merimbula aged 13 and moved to Canberra to pursue a football career.
Last Thursday, the 19-year-old scored his first senior goal for the Jets, slotting home an 83rd-minute equaliser for a 3-all draw with Macarthur at Maitland.
The goal epitomised how quickly the left-sided utility has progressed.
"I'm really enjoying the left-wing back position at the moment - obviously I'm not in that starting team, but it's a great challenge to work towards," Mauragis told NBNnews on Monday.
Proud Dad Danius said a selection with the Under 20s Young Socceroos and last Thursdays goal were a credit to his son's hard work over the past six years.
"The sacrifices and hard work he has had to put in, he just sets himself goals every year and achieving them it spurs him on more to the next."
Danius said Lucas had been taking forward steps each year and was starting to reap the rewards of his efforts.
"He's seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and I think he's enjoying the moment, he's really doing all he can to set himself the challenge to see how far he can go, but wants to enjoy the ride along the way."
Caretaker coach Craig Deans did a video session on positioning with the wingback in the lead-up to the friendly.
"It is very early in his career and he is still learning," Deans said. "We pointed out where he needed to be in regards to getting into the box and scoring goals. Five minutes before he scored, there was another ball that went past the back post and he was 10 metres behind where he should have been.
"We reminded him where he needed to be. Next thing, a cross comes in and he scores. It is good for him because he is seeing the value of learning and training. He is a good kid and he works hard."
Danius said he admired his son's work ethic and it was his efforts behind the scenes that few would notice.
"The stuff people see is the tip of the iceberg, it's the bad weather and getting out there when others don't want to do it that counts.
"You just have to work hard and he knows there is no shortcuts."
Jets youth team coach Daniel McBreen offered Mauragis a trial a year ago after he had watched a highlights video of the winger on Youtube.
"He came here on a youth team contract," Deans said. "Within three or four months he was offered a scholarship. He has been in with the first team for probably five months. It has been a fast step up. He knows he has a lot to work on to make it consistently to A-League level. But he has the basics - work ethic and attitude. He wants to listen, he wants to learn and he wants to get better.
"He is now in a battle with Connor O'Toole to play in that position. It's a good challenge for him.
"Connor scored two goals against Edgeworth. Lucas came off the bench against Macarthur and scored a goal. It's a nice little battle developing between them."
Lucas will now form part of the Jets A-league roster for friendly matches through December, before heading to the under 20s World Cup qualifier series in Uzbekistan in March next year.
"Should Australia qualify they will contest the [under 20s] World Cup in Indonesia in May," Danius said.