By his own admission, Jamal Fogarty was initially just "happy to be there" when brought into the Titans squad last March after two years in the NRL wilderness.
But following a season in which he quickly became a vital part of the Gold Coast side, the 27-year-old halfback is now a full-time captaincy option along with veteran Kevin Proctor.
He filled that role in the final five games of 2020 after Proctor was suspended, but regardless of whether he boasts the 'c' next to his name come round one against the Warriors, Fogarty wants to be more assertive as the Titans look to build on a ninth-place finish.
"Last year I had no [NRL] pre-season at all ... This pre-season's given me time to build a bit of cohesion and relationships with those guys that I didn't get to last year," Fogarty told NRL.com.
"I was just learning on the run and trying to build those relationships, which was quite tough to be honest.
"But I feel as though this is my job and my team. I've got a voice and I feel pretty comfortable bossing the boys around and doing what's required for the team.
Analysing the Titans' 2021 draw
"It's been really enjoyable and I've been learning a lot, especially off someone like Ash [Taylor]. He's been playing forever, so I'm learning a lot of stuff off him plus all the other guys in and around me.
"[There's been] no talk about the captaincy, and to be honest, my goal is just to make the team and put in consistent performances and cement that spot. I'll just leave that up to the coaching staff.
"But we've got a great leader in Kev. He's an actions man, he does all the one-percenters.
"[To be skipper last year] was quite an awesome feeling and it was so crazy considering three months before the season I was just running around Pizzey Park [for Burleigh Bears] and all of a sudden the coach threw me the captaincy.
"I really enjoyed it and it was a great learning curve for myself."
The next challenge for Fogarty, a local junior, is managing the increased expectations on both the team and himself.
Despite having just 20 games under his belt, the playmaker isn't buying into the external hype around the club potentially making the finals for the first time since 2016 after the signings of Origin forwards David Fifita and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.
"I think it's just been pushed to one side ... I'm sure in the next couple of weeks once trials and the season gets a little bit closer, we're going to have to live up to what people's opinions are," he said.
"But within the group we've got goals of our own, and we've just got to stick to our process and what we've been speaking about at training. Hopefully we'll get to the end of the year and see where we're at."
The Titans' 2020 season in review
Before officially beginning a new campaign with the Titans, Fogarty is eligible to represent the Indigenous team in the Harvey Norman All Stars clash against the Maori side in Townsville on February 20.
A proud Mununjali man from Beaudesert, Fogarty said it would be a "childhood dream come true" to play in the fixture.
"If I did get picked, it'd be pretty crazy to think of myself when it started all those years ago just sitting on the couch watching all my idols running around," he said.
Witness the best of the best from both sides of the Tasman. As athletes and as people from the First Nations
Hear us. See us.
Be there as cultures collide.
Tickets are available at NRL Tickets.