For Knights trialist Chris Randall, the motivation is simple.
"I don't want to go backwards," the 24-year-old says. "As much as I love the local league, I don't want to see myself going back there. All my career goals are right here."
It's why the Lakes United junior continues to chase his NRL dream with Newcastle.
And now, the door just may open for him with the pending release of hooker Danny Levi to Manly.
After earning a development contract with the club last season and making 19 appearances in the Knights' NSW Cup team without cracking the NRL, Randall is in the middle of his first full off-season with the fulltime squad.
But unlike almost every other player who has been slogging away during the toughest pre-season training schedule in the club's history under coach Adam O'Brien, he has no surety around his playing future with no promise of a contract.
Whether Levi's departure, which will leave the Knights hooking ranks decidedly thinner with only utility Connor Watson and rising youngster Luke Huth as back-ups for the established Jayden Brailey, changes things only time will tell.
As it stands, Randall is taking nothing for granted and is simply working his butt off at training to give himself every chance of at least earning another development contract.
In his favour is he is one of the club's best trainers, which hasn't gone unnoticed by O'Brien and the new coaching staff.
"I got extended [to keep training] after Christmas and have just been trying my hardest," Randall told the Newcastle Herald.
"I'm trying to hang in there, stay for as long as I can and do everything I can to earn a contract. The goal for me is just not to go backwards. I was given a development contract last year and was invited in to do the pre-season and that's just been extended.
"I just want to go on to bigger and better things from here. It's been a tough pre-season and the coach has been definitely testing us and getting the best out of us and we'll see the results through the year hopefully. I'd love to be a part of that."
I'm trying to hang in there, stay for as long as I can and do everything I can to earn a contract.Chris Randall
Asked whether he believed Levi's Manly move may work in his favour, Randall said: "Yeah, fingers crossed, if I just keep my head down and keep working hard, hopefully it works in my favour and I can pick up a contract.
"I'm not sure where things are at. The club spoke to me about extending me the eight weeks after Christmas as a little reward for working hard in the pre-Christmas and all I can do is keep that up and see what happens."