Far from being daunted by the arrival of former internationals George Burgess and Aaron Woods and 2021 Maroons debutant Francis Molo at the Red V, Blake Lawrie is ready to do whatever it takes in the pre-season to ensure he retains his spot in Anthony Griffin's starting side.
Coming off a solid 2021 season in which he averaged 108 running metres in 21 appearances, Lawrie is excited at the prospect of the Dragons turning around their fortunes on the back of a new-look forward pack.
"Our forward pack is pretty stacked and some quality players are going to miss out, so hopefully I can earn my keep and be there in round one," said Lawrie, who has played 79 games for the Dragons since debuting in 2017.
"There's a lot of new faces coming here so I have to assert my role in the team.
"Hopefully I can build good connections with the new blokes because they’ve come with a lot of experience.
"If Aaron or George have any tips then I'm all ears."
At 30 and with 233 games under his belt, Woods brings a wealth of knowledge to the table, while Burgess is looking to rebuild his career after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery.
Top 10 tries for 2021: Dragons
Best remembered for his barnstorming solo try in the Rabbitohs' 2014 grand final triumph, Burgess left Souths at the end of 2019 to join Wigan but played only eight matches before succumbing to the chronic hip pain that had hampered him for many years.
The Dragons have taken the punt that Burgess can make a full recovery and bring big-game experience to the table and Lawrie is right behind the Englishman.
"George is very motivated. If he really wants it he will get there," Lawrie said.
"I have full faith in big Georgie to get back to his best."
If Burgess, Woods and Molo all hit their straps then Griffin faces some tough selection choices to make come the round one showdown with the Warriors next March - and that's fine by Lawrie.
"We have quality players coming in and everyone’s in the same boat. Everyone has to train hard and earn their jersey," said Lawrie.
"I'm competitive by nature ... you've got to be competitive in each and every aspect of this sport.
"We’ll train to be the best and aim to be the best. If you want to aim for anything less then you shouldn’t be here.
They can't stop George Burgess
"I believe Hook’s got a lot of trust in me. He doesn’t talk too much about footy he leaves that to assistant coaches. It’s more about how things are going outside footy and make sure your head is right to do the best you can and help your team mates."
Motivation shouldn't be an issue for a Dragons outfit which lost its final eight games in a row after a golden point victory over the Warriors in round 16 had them sitting comfortably in seventh spot.
After a three-year absence from the finals the Dragons will be looking to their experienced forwards to lay the foundation for exciting young backs Jayden Sullivan, Tyrell Sloan, Talatau Amone and the Feagai twins to run amok and steer them back to September action.