Bench life isn't something St George Illawarra's Matt Dufty has had a whole lot of experience with before this season but he had plenty of time to think about it last Saturday night in the Dragons' loss in North Queensland.
The odd man out in Paul McGregor's spine, Dufty is the latest NRL speedster tasked with coming off the bench and providing a spark and a game-breaking play late in a game.
Dufty finally got on the paddock in the 67th minute, a trend set to continue as the Dragons remain patient with the Corey Norman-Ben Hunt-Gareth Widdop playmaking combination.
"If you watch, I went into the sheds about 30 times to go to the toilet because I kept sipping on water," Dufty said, when asked what the bench experience was like.
"When you see it from the sideline it's hard. It does make you hungrier to get on the field. I have trouble sitting still. I wasn't used to it.
"I keep trying to talk to all the boys. When the tired forwards come off they don't really want to talk so I just sit there doing my own thing.
"You want to yell out to the boys because that's what I do at fullback trying to direct people around."
Dragons' spinal surgery
Dufty is aware of the long-term road ahead and for that reason he isn't kicking stones.
Gareth Widdop's expected departure to the English Super League next year has softened the selection blow to an extent for the 23-year-old, who re-signed with the Red V in February on a deal that will keep him at the club through to the end of 2021.
"It's already been good mentally," Dufty said.
"I could've sat around, had my head down and had a sook but you've just got to appreciate being in an NRL team.
"Mary just says when I get on the field to score points or do whatever I have to do to get the team in the game.
"I've been trying to do that in the last couple of weeks. It's just been unlucky I've come on and we've been down by more than what I would've liked."
Dufty hoped the Dragons' faithful gave the new-look spine a chance to develop instead of passing judgement in the next month of action.
"For everyone else it probably looks like we don't know what's going on but when we come together it will be dangerous," he said.
"It's still a work in progress but we've got a world class spine and I think when we figure out how to make it work it will be a dangerous combination."