Broncos forward Matt Gillett has set his sights on ending what will be an 11-month absence from the playing arena in the March 2 trial against the Titans on the Gold Coast.
The 30-year-old Test back-rower is moving smoothly along on the comeback trail from a neck fracture and shoulder surgery after last playing for Brisbane against Newcastle on April 7.
After that match, it was discovered he had been playing with a fractured neck.
While not back in full training, Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold said the signs were good that Gillett would be ready to play the Storm in the season opener on March 14 in Melbourne.
"All going well he'll play just the one trial and that'll be against the Gold Coast," Seibold told NRL.com.
"He's doing all the skills but still not doing full contact. He is doing all the other training and we hope he'll be cleared by the doctor the next week or two and be on course for a trial game, then round one."
Broncos pack's coming of age in 2018
Gillett said his shoulder, not his neck, was the key area he needed to strengthen over the next two months after completing the club's first field session of the New Year on Monday.
"Now it is just a matter of building contact with the shoulder. That will be a process but I want to get as much contact as I can in before the last trial and give it a good hit-out there," he said.
All going well he'll play just the one trial and that'll be against the Gold CoastAnthony Seibold on Matt Gillett
"It has been a long time on the sideline watching but I have been able to spend time with family and refresh the body.
"It [the NRL] takes its toll on the body the older you get so in a way it has been perfect timing to get that rest for a year and hit the ground running this year. I am pretty eager to get back out there.
"I just have to pretty much do all the fitness at the moment and jump in and out of skills when I can."
Gillett said he had no qualms about being able to cope mentally with the demands of the NRL after the frightening experience with his neck.
"I think I'll be fine. I've been a long time out but playing with it a little bit at the start [of 2018] when it happened gave me confidence that everything is going to be OK," he said.
"I just have to focus on the shoulder. That is the issue now, to get as much contact under my belt before that first trial."
"It might take a little bit to get myself back to the level I was playing at just due to not playing for a while but nothing is going to change mentally for me with the way I play my football.
"Timing is a lot of the issue in defence so I've got to get that right before I try and go in hard. I've got to get all those little things right."
Seibold has worked with Gillett in his stint as Maroons assistant coach and said he had no doubt he would return to the level of play that resulted in the Brisbane back-rower being a regular in Australian and Queensland teams.
"From a physical point of view he's in really good shape; he's running extremely well; he's lifting well in the gym," Seibold said.
"Obviously he's a leader for our group and an outstanding player. He's doing everything you'd expect from a senior player in terms of setting the example. In fact, he's a really good example of hard work and preparation."