A close friend of the McDonald family says Australia's new cricket coach was showing signs of his prodigious development as a child.
Andrew McDonald was confirmed as the national men's coach for the next four years on Wednesday after serving as the assistant to Justin Langer and then as the interim mentor during the recent tour of Pakistan.
Stuart Paul played cricket with McDonald's father Barry with the pair integral members of New City Cricket Club, which was then based at Lavington's Jelbart Park.
"For a junior he was miles ahead, not just with his skill technique, but the way he perceived and managed the game," Paul recalled.
"As a little fella, you had to be careful not to tread on him at training because he was always so close, he was hanging on everything that was going on around him, he was watching, observing.
"He had no problems talking and dealing with older guys, there was no generation gap as far as Andrew was concerned."
New City's Rising Star award is named after Andrew McDonald.
"It's a credit to Barry and Melinda that they've brought up a son the way he is, he really cares about his club and where he comes from," former New City president and life member Anthony Baker said.
"He's always been a strong supporter and good advocate for our cricket club, we're very lucky to have someone like him.
"He's just a cracking bloke, I can see why (Australia's short-form captain) Aaron Finch and (Test captain) Pat Cummins were talking so warmly of him on the tour of Pakistan, it's just the person he is.
"He makes everything about everybody else and not himself and does absolutely everything he can to support those around him."
Paul has seen that unselfish nature numerous times.
"My son Rod went to the (most recent) Test in Adelaide, and he texted Andrew and said he's going to the Test," Paul offered.
"Andrew said, 'mate, it will be pretty late after the game but we can catch up' and bugger me dead, there he was, he had all the things going on with the Australian team and he still had time to catch up with Rod.
"Every time we see him, he's just the same kid."
McDonald played four Tests for Australia, becoming only the second Albury product to play Test cricket.
Quite remarkably, McDonald's rise to the top role means he and fellow Border export Steve Rixon have now coached national teams with the latter leading New Zealand.