THIRD time may prove to be the charm for Jake Thompson.
The backrower has had previous stints in Norths Devils and Mackay Cutters, but on both occasions left due to off-field commitments.
But now the Isis Devil will have another, and potentially final chance, at turning a long-held dream into reality.
Thompson officially signed with Intrust Super Cup side Sunshine Coast Falcons late last week, and will join a side being rebuilt by former Easts Tigers mentor Craig Ingebrigtsen.
The Falcons have endured lean years since Manly Sea Eagles cut ties with the club, but their affiliation with Melbourne Storm should make the Sunshine Coast side fly high in years to come.
"I'm pumped, but I'm not excited for the training," Thompson joked.
"I have to get through that first few months between now and Christmas first."
His previous chances with Queensland Cup teams ended due to a combination of work and a lack of desire for higher honours, with a younger Thompson happier to focus on paying bills than chasing every footballer's dream.
A love of rugby league saw Thompson continue to play in regional competitions, and he entered 2015 with retirement weighing heavily on his mind.
"Last year playing with my brother (Kurt) gave me that hunger back," Thompson said. "I was happy to retire then and find other things to do. We had a good year but lost the grand final, and I thought I'd go around one more year.
"Making Central Crows this year; I was happy, but I wanted to make a Queensland team before I retired."
He did just that earlier this year, and played alongside some of the state's best players in Queensland Rangers 32-0 triumph over the New South Wales Ron Massey Cup side.
Thompson was selected on the bench for that game but played 76 minutes after an early injury.
Fellow Intrust Super Cup sides Wynnum-Manly and Easts Tigers had expressed interest in the hard-working backrower but pulled out.
But just when it appeared the doors had closed he received a call from Ingebrigtsen.
"Craig rang me and said he wanted me to be part of it," he said.
"As it works out the Falcons are a bit more family-oriented for me. It's not far from my family so I'd probably be happier here than in Brisbane."
Thompson said the plan was to use him in the Intrust Super Cup side next season, provided he stays injury-free and maintains the strong form he is known for in the Bundaberg Rugby League.