After an injury-plagued 2019 and bittersweet NRL debut, Starford To'a feels confident about next season and wants to show people what he can do at the Newcastle Knights.
To'a overcome dual surgeries, wrist and ankle, to crack first grade in September and he wants to get back there again in 2020.
"It [NRL debut] gives me a lot of confidence," To'a said.
"It makes me want to show people what I can do and hopefully be someone that the crowd can look forward to at the Knights."
Playing on the wing, the 19-year-old opened the scoring in round 25 with a 70-metre intercept try for Newcastle against the Panthers at Penrith Stadium.
However, the Knights were eventually thrashed 54-10 by the hosts.
"Individually that was a good moment," he said.
"Something positive I could take out of the game apart from [us] losing that game.
"I think it was a dream come true when I realised I was about to put the ball down and hearing the crowd. It was pretty surreal."
Earlier this year To'a underwent operations to repair a broken wrist and ankle syndesmosis, spending a combined 16 weeks on the sidelines, but he now feels "fresh".
"I'm pretty much 100 percent," he said. "My wrist is all good and my ankle is almost 100 percent."
One month into pre-season training, To'a said the sessions have been "pretty tough".
"There's a lot of effort stuff that's been really crucial this pre-season, but I've been trying to learn from it as much as I can," he said.
"I've come in in good shape, so I'm ripping into it pretty well."
To'a said he has been guided by fellow Knights winger Edrick Lee, who is on the comeback trail after missing a large portion of 2019 with a broken arm.
"Edrick Lee is a big one for me," he said.
"I've been trying to learn as much as possible off him. He's been giving me tips every session."
Originally from New Zealand city Auckland, To'a said he now refers to Newcastle as "home" after arriving two years ago.
To'a made his NRL debut under caretaker coach Kristian Woolf, following the departure of Nathan Brown and before the arrival of Adam O'Brien.
Meanwhile, contract negotiations with Brisbane's Gehamat Shibasaki were ongoing according to Knights officials on Tuesday. An offer has been tabled with the Broncos 21-year-old but Newcastle are yet to confirm the signature.
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