Titans livewire AJ Brimson feels "better than ever" after returning from a fractured back to a free-flowing game where the small and speedy are thriving.
The 21-year-old had prepared for the worst-case scenario of missing the season but set his sights on a comeback eight weeks ago.
He emerged unscathed against the Roosters in Saturday's commendable 18-12 defeat, running for 90 metres at fullback in his first competitive match since the NRL Nines in February.
"The COVID break was really good for my back. Credit to the staff, really, for getting me back feeling better than ever. That's the way I felt on the weekend, so it was exciting," Brimson said on Monday.
"I think I'll always have to manage it, but hopefully it's going to be low maintenance. If I'm pulling up sore and tight they'll probably have to have an extra look at it.
"But in saying that, I'm not worried about my back anymore. Obviously if I feel something I'll tell the staff, but I've mentally moved on from that and I'm just looking forward to playing some footy."
AJ Brimson's back
With a faster ruck speed and more fatigue across the board due to the six-again rule implemented in May, the zippy Brimson, who has a touch football background, poses even more of a threat.
Other pint-sized fullbacks like St George Illawarra's Matt Dufty and Melbourne's Ryan Papenhuyzen have been electric.
"Matt Dufty especially. [It's] Papenhuyzen's standard, but Matt Dufty's really playing good footy. It's good to watch," Brimson said.
"The new game, I've only got one game of it under my belt, but it was fun on the weekend. It should be good."
Brimson declared he wants to be Gold Coast's long-term No.1 despite the arrival of the versatile Corey Thompson.
"He's a good player as we all know and he's been good for my development. We get along and we're always chatting tactics and that sort of stuff," Brimson said.
While they fell short against the Roosters, Brimson was encouraged by the stark difference in the team's attitude since he last played.
"I can definitely feel a change in the way we approach games, especially when we're behind on the scoreboard which is something we've been weak at in the past few years," he said.
"We've been allowing ourselves to get blown out of the game and on the weekend we were in it until the 80th minute ... positive signs.
"Just that fight to genuinely want to win, just that competitiveness which is what we're driving at training. We're making little competitions out of every single thing we do, whether it's a skills drill or a recovery game or kick tennis.
Match Highlights: Roosters v Titans
"Whatever it is, we all want to win and it just shows on the field. We might be behind but we're just trying to find some sort of way to get the two points."
Sunday's home clash with the Cowboys, who have also shown improvement in recent weeks, gives the Titans a great chance to cash in on their work.
"They were good against Canberra [last week] so we know they're going to come out firing against us," Tanah Boyd said.
"We've just got to back up what we did last week and I'm sure we're going to do it. We'll rip into training this week and we'll focus on them, but we also want to keep concentrating on us and keep building for what we're doing."