Remember me? Demoted winger Phillip Sami sent Titans coach Garth Brennan a blunt message after an unexpected starring role in Gold Coast’s 38-14 win over the Knights on Sunday.
Dropped after a careless first-up effort against the Raiders in round one, Sami has been effectively frozen out of the Titans’ 17 ever since, a five-minute cameo off the bench against the Rabbitohs in round three his only game time after spending all 80 minutes riding the pine in the round-two loss to the Sharks.
He was unsure what contribution he would make when he started Sunday on the bench but was thrust into the action after 12 minutes following the injury to captain Ryan James and quickly set the game alight.
The 21-year-old scored the game’s opening try when he punished the Knights for an error on halfway with a 60-metre run to the try line and put his side in position to score their third try just before the break with a 60-metre bust from a 20-metre tap restart.
There were numerous other strong carries as he amassed game highs in run metres (219) and tackle busts (10) to ramp up the pressure on in-form wingers Anthony Don and Dale Copley.
Sami breaks away down the left
"Obviously getting dropped is not something that is very enjoyable but I didn't take it to heart,” Sami told NRL.com.
“I just put my head down. I wanted to work hard to get back into this team and when my opportunity came to try and make the most of it.
"Obviously I got on a bit earlier than I expected but I saw that as an opportunity for myself to show Garth that I am capable of being in this team. Hopefully I did that.”
Conscious of the need for his back three to get his team on the front foot with strong carries early in sets, Brennan opted for Sami and Brenko Lee as his wingers for round one.
Although he ran for 107m against the Raiders, he was admonished for lapses in concentration and relegated.
After such a strong showing in Sunday's win over Newcastle, he provides Brennan with an ace up his sleeve.
"He's hungry. He wants to get his spot back,” Brennan said.
“It's good competition to have when you’ve got the quality of Phil Sami coming off the bench chomping at the bit for a starting spot.
"He's worked really hard at training and focused on the little things. Doing some extras after training and just trying to be better.
“He'll keep Donny and Digger [Copley] and Peach [Tyrone Peachey] and Brian Kelly honest, and that's what we need.
James injured in tackle
“You need depth in your squad to really compete throughout the year and he gives us that. I thought he was great.”
An impressive pre-season in which he dropped five kilograms to be playing at 95kg, the sacking of Sami after just one game came as a shock.
He turned to his family for support and credits their belief for helping him through a difficult month.
"It's obviously something new for me. I'm normally starting whatever team I'm playing in but I'm just grateful to be in the team,” said Sami, who scored 14 tries in 23 games last season.
"My family are really supportive of me and they just said, 'This is rugby league'.
"You're not always going to have the best start to a season and obviously I didn't have a good start to the season.
"I knew my family had belief in me which made me believe in myself."