During a meet and greet with kids from his home town of just over a thousand people, beaming Canterbury-Bankstown forward Adam Elliott was described by young lovers of the game as friendly, happy, muscular and even plain old nice.
We didn't need flash holidays because we were just so happy to be playing sport and training.Canterbury-Bankstown forward Adam Elliott
"He's just a really kind person," junior player Mali Whatmore said with a big smile.
Ahead of this weekend's preseason game against the Canberra raiders, Elliott handed over a $1000 donation from family friend and managing director of staffing and recruitment company TLH Group James Marroun to Tathra Sea Eagles Rugby League Juniors squad members.
"James is someone who's supported me as much as possible, he's part of our family now," Elliott said.
Sea Eagles secretary Caitlin Wallace said she was "surprised" by the donation to the club.
"We are the only club that doesn't charge players for gear like socks and shorts, so the money will go a long way," she said.
The humble 24-year-old Elliott started his career with the Sea Eagles at a time when he played just about any sport he could.
"I think everyone our age played as many sports as they could. We met friends through sport," he said.
"We didn't need flash holidays because we were just so happy to be playing sport and training."
The talented youngster always knew he had a passion for football that went beyond the love he had for other sports.
"I always loved football that little bit extra. I had that burning passion," Elliott said.
"I always loved waiting for March and the start of the season and I just hated it when the season was ending. Luckily I had cricket to get me through the off season.
"I never forget the reason I play is for the love of the game and the mates you make."
During the session at the Tathra Beach Country Club Elliott also had an opportunity to catch up with some older friends, including retired professional surfer and 2013 Rip Curl Pro Portugal winner Kai Otton.
"For me Kai was a hero because he was the first to crack it," Elliott said.
"He was the elite of the elite. He was in the top 10 in the world, and I wanted to do the same for rugby league.
"I hope I can do that for the kids around here. I want the kids here to have more opportunity than me."
With last year's Mad Monday controversies now well behind him, Elliott is part of the Bulldogs' leadership group and the rugby league world is his oyster.
"Being in the leadership group is something I take pride in," he said.
"We have a great captain in Jacko [Josh Jackson]. Everyone leads through their actions but I'm a bit more vocal in bringing things out of players on the field."
Elliott said while the pundits don't give the team much hope this season, he is aiming for his first game of finals football.
"I'm feeling well leading into this season, and we're in a better place than ever before," he said.
"I just love playing first grade and I want to make sure we're extremely competitive.
"We're a club people like kicking when we're down, but it's okay because you want to be under the radar."