St George Illawarra Dragons centre Tim Lafai is well aware that he will need to work hard if he is to earn his spot in the team in 2016.
The Toa Samoa international, capped five-times for his nation, is under no illusion that he will be a certain starter in the centres with competition quickly building within the squad for the hotly coveted positions.
The Campbelltown Warriors junior admits there are no ill-feelings towards his former club the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs nor the player Will Hopoate who triggered the three-quarter into ultimately moving to the Red V.
If anything, Lafai, 24, is somewhat thankful with what has transpired as it will allow him to gain some valuable one-on-one tutelage under Head Coach Paul McGregor.
“It’s great to be able to be at a team like the Dragons who have a proud and rich history and a strong culture similar to where I came from,” said Lafai.
“I’m familiar with a few players within the squad who I have played alongside for when representing Samoa including Mose Masoe, Leeson Ah Mau and Dunamis Lui and am keen to get know everyone else here.
“There are a few players in particular I’m looking forward to playing alongside, including big Mose who will be taking our pack forward, Benji Marshall who has been in good form as well as Josh Dugan and Gareth Widdop.
“There was an opportunity which arose for Will Hopoate and he took it at the Bulldogs which allowed me to take up my opportunity with the Dragons.
“That’s footy and the business that we’re in and I’m definitely happy.
“Having said that, I obviously need to work hard just like any player here and earn my spot in the team which I know will not come easy as there is plenty of depth in the centres.
“Everyone will be fighting to get one of those two spots but we’re all mates and we know we need to get on with the job at hand.
“Like I said before, I need to earn my spot and prove that to the coaches who make the selecting.
“One the things that persuaded me into coming to the Dragons was the opportunity of learning off of Paul McGregor.
“His history as a centre speaks for itself and I’m definitely looking forward to having him help me out to become the best I can in the same position.
“Some of the most exciting matches I’ve previously played in have involved coming up against the Dragons as the atmosphere from both sets of fans meant I always needed to lift for them.
“I look forward to hopefully having them cheer me on.”