JETS championship-winning skipper Jade North hopes experience counts when new Socceroos boss Holger Osieck settles on a replacement for injured captain Lucas Neill against Paraguay in Sydney on Saturday.
Neill damaged his hip playing for his club Galatasaray on Friday and has stayed in Turkey.
Veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer is expected to take the captain's armband, but there is a vacancy in the heart of the Socceroos defence.
Osieck opted not to bring in another defender, leaving North, Jon McKain and Michael Thwaite to battle for two places.
McKain partnered Neill in the 2-1 win over Poland, the Socceroos' first under the German, but was guilty of conceding a penalty.
Thwaite was a member of the Socceroos 2007 Asian Cup squad but did not get any game time and had not featured again until now.
North, who joined Wellington Phoenix last month, made his national team debut in 2002 and was a regular squad member under previous coach Pim Verbeek but missed the cut for World Cup.
The athletic 28-year-old started in the 2-0 loss to Slovenia in August, and with 29 caps is by far the most experienced of the trio.
"I've been around for a long time in the national team, nearly 10 years now," North said.
"I'm not sure if that will count for much, but I've got some match fitness now and am rearing to go.
"Every time you come into camp you want to impress, but more so now.
"With Lucas not there it only leaves three defenders here. We are all trying to put our hand up. I guess it will come down to who he thinks can do a job."
North has been impressed by the new coach, who is "totally different" to Pim Verbeek.
"With Pim being Dutch, they like to keep the ball and there is a lot more passing," North said.
"Holger wants to be a bit more direct. We are there for a purpose, there for a reason: to win games and score goals.
"I really like him. He is very approachable and a bit of a character as well."
An appearance against Paraguay would be another peak in what has been a roller-coaster ride since North left the Jets almost two years ago.
After agreeing to be North Queensland's inaugural marquee player, North reneged on the deal to join Korean club Incheon United, believing it would help his World Cup prospects.
But things quickly turned sour.
"The mentality of the club was that they didn't treat the foreigners that well. We were like guinea pigs," he said.
"The president pretty much picked the team and made substitutions from his box. The coach had little influence.
"It was incredibly frustrating and totally out of my control."
North spent a disastrous 12 months in Korea, making nine appearances, before gaining a move to Norwegian outfit Tromso, which is a two-hour flight north of Oslo in the Arctic Circle.
"I got there at the end of February and it snowed every day," North said.
"It would stop for a couple of hours and they would get the tractor out and clear the ground so we could train and play. It got down to minus 15 at its worst."
After a solid start, North struggled for game time in Norway before a hip flexor injury at the Socceroos' final camp in Melbourne ended any hope he had of making the plane for South Africa.
"It was disappointing but it's all part of life," North said.
"The road we choose for our journey, mine took me down a path I never thought I would go . . .but you just try and take the positives from everything you do."
Tromso manager Per-Mathias Hogmo wanted North to stay, but desperate "to play some football" he returned to the A-League and Wellington, where he has reunited with Jets 2007-08 title teammate Andrew Durante.
"I wanted to come back to Australia and with Jon McKain going to Saudi Arabia there was a spot at Wellington," he said.
North is four games into a one-year deal with the Phoenix.
Though his immediate focus is on Wellington, he owns property in Newcastle and the Jets remain close to his heart.
"Newcastle is my home," he said.
"It was sad to see Con go. We had a good relationship but the club is moving forward in a different direction now. It sounds like good things are happening there.
"I don't want to rule out anything, but I just need to play well for my club before I start seeing if I can go here or there. If I do that, the rewards will come."