For someone who has sacrificed so much to play NRL this weekend, Canterbury forward Adam Elliott can't wipe the smile from his face.
Just over two weeks ago his partner Robyn gave birth to their first child, Lennex, in her home town of Darwin.
Not long afterwards, Elliott had to leave his two loves to return to Sydney to restart training with the Bulldogs ahead of the recommencement of the season.
Baby Lennex needs vaccinations at six weeks and time to build up his immunity before he is able to travel home to Sydney with Robyn, meaning the couple are separated until at least the end of June.
In an era of FaceTime and unlimited wi-fi, Elliott is coping well enough on his own, knowing his partner and child are surrounded by her family in Darwin.
And while he has been spared the sleepless nights that come with a newborn, his favourite outlet - rugby league - keeps Elliott motivated to provide for his family.
"It's a bit of a tough slog," he said on on Thursday.
"I had a day off yesterday so I had a bit of a sook on the couch at home.
"When I'm at training it takes my mind off it.
"I'm so lucky that nowadays we've got FaceTime."
When border restrictions and greater precautions were first taking hold across the country, they had to decide whether to stay in Sydney or relocate to Darwin where Robyn could be with her family.
It allowed Elliott to be at the birth, and with coronavirus cases so low in the Northern Territory, they were comfortable Lennex would be born into a safe environment.
Going to training at Belmore is now a welcome distraction for Elliott, who can easily find the positive in being separated from his young family.
"I'm just lucky that I love (rugby league) so much and I missed it so much over the break that I was excited to get back, see my teammates, get the footy in my hands and put the Bulldogs kit on," he said.
"I've always loved being a part of a team and I've got to look at it as a positive.
"I can still come down here and do what I love and am passionate about and I can use it as motivation to provide for my family.
"I'll have a story for him when he's a bit older and I can tell him I had to shoot off down here in the middle of a pandemic and play some footy while he was up there with mum."
Australian Associated Press