DANIEL Saifiti wants to feel nervous again.
Throughout his NRL career, pre-game butterflies have been as regular as clockwork, as the adrenaline starts pumping in the countdown to kick-off.
At least that was the case up until he returned to Newcastle after his two games for NSW in last season's State of Origin series victory.
"Going into games, no matter how old I was, I've always been a bit nervous," Saifiti told the Newcastle Herald.
"Not overly nervous, but enough nervous to be a good thing. Going into Origin I was nervous, but after that, I don't know, I just wasn't nervous going into any of the Knights' games. And now I look back on that as a bad thing ... I think I was just mentally drained. Origin was such a big stage, and I didn't know what to expect."
Saifiti, the 23-year-old front-rower, felt he was in "career-best form" before being chosen for his NSW debut in Origin II, which the Blues won by the landslide margin of 38-6.
He retained his spot for the series decider, a 26-20 victory for NSW, but admitted he struggled to perform at the same high standard for the rest of the season.
"I thought I'd played at that level and would just continue with the form that got me selected," he said.
"I suppose I thought it would just happen, but it didn't. I definitely wasn't happy with my second half of the year.
"But I'm trying not to dwell on the good or the bad from last year. I just have to learn from it, start again and move forward."
Saifiti certainly wasn't Robinson Crusoe.
As a collective group, the Knights fell in a hole after Origin and won only three of their last 12 games in 2019, tumbling from fifth on the ladder to eventually finish a disappointing 11th.
"Going into the second or third Origin, we were in and around the top four," Saifiti said. "If someone had told me you guys won't make the eight, I would have laughed at them.
"For seven or eight weeks, we were playing unreal footy. It was very disappointing where we ended up."
Saifiti has now played four full seasons in the NRL, and appearing in the finals remains an unfulfilled dream.
"I'm definitely confident that next year will be the year," he said.
"We've learned a lot from last season. We've got a new coach, who's tough, but if you put in the effort, he rewards you."
Saifiti has agreed to a new two-year contract with Newcastle, which ensures he will remain in the red and blue until at least the end of 2022.
His twin sibling, Jacob, has one more year to run on his contract and Daniel was backing him to state a strong case for retention.
"We've played together our whole lives," he said.
"But as we grow older, we realise maybe that won't always be the case.
"I'd definitely like to play my whole career with Jacob, and if he can start off next season the way he ended this one, I'm confident the club will want to re-sign him."