Enari Tuala isn't counting on experience alone to get first crack at Newcastle's vacant wing position.
It's why he is so keen to play against Cronulla at Gosford on Saturday, in the first of the Knights' two trials.
The 25-year-old is also keen to avoid the same fate as last year, when after missing both pre-season fixtures and coming into the season underdone, he was forced to wait until round 16 for another shot in first grade.
"This time last year, I had a few niggles and I didn't get to play trials, so that's my focus this year," Tuala told the Newcastle Herald.
"I had a pec strain ... I came into round one and the lungs weren't really ready.
"I'm looking forward to it. I need to get some [minutes] under my belt and get those combinations right."
A first-grade regular through 2020-22, playing in 66 of a possible 70 games, Tuala was reduced to just six NRL appearances in 2023.
The rise of wingers Dominic Young and Greg Marzhew, and few injuries across the back-line, resulted in limited opportunities.
"It was pretty tough. I didn't start the year off great, obviously there was injuries and I was trying to find my way back in," Tuala said.
"Them boys killed it, so I was just trying to go in wherever I could and be ready."
Five of Tuala's six games last year were at centre, replacing either Bradman Best or Dane Gagai when they were unavailable.
But following the departure of Young to the Roosters, he now has his sights set on playing on the wing.
"That's my goal, to nail that spot, he said.
"But there's a lot of good players who are competing; 'Maps' [Krystian Mapapalangi], Tom Jenkins. We've all been swapping around, both wings, and testing it out."
Having made 89 NRL appearances, compared to Jenkins' six and Mapapalangi's two, and played plenty of wing since debuting at the Cowboys in 2017, Tuala may have the runs on the board to get first crack. But the Cairns product, who has scored 37 NRL tries, isn't relying on just experience.
He has been buoyed this summer by the youthful Mapapalangi, who played just one reserve-grade game last year due to back-to-back shoulder injuries, and the energetic Jenkins, a new recruit from Penrith.
"He's a gun," Tuala said of Jenkins. "He's had a really good pre-season so far and is keeping me on my toes for that position. He is athletic and can move well.
"Maps, he's going well. It's the best pre-season he's had. He's healthy and his shoulder is feeling good."
Off-contract this year, and a young father, Tuala has plenty of extra motivation to make his mark in 2024.
"This is my last year here," he said. "I only signed for one year so I really want to get back into the team and play consistent. First, to be named in that wing spot and then just do my job every time I put the jersey on."