Oskar Bryant is taking plenty of encouragement from the Titans' previous three-hooker strategy as he works towards a desired NRL debut in 2024.
A fresh face in the Gold Coast's development roster after spending the past season at Parkwood as a full-time train-and-triallist, the 20-year-old had a box seat in overseeing the No. 9 game plan that was used to help conquer Sam Verrills' collarbone injuries, and with Kruise Leeming returning to the Super League, the Cudgen Hornets junior wants to be in the wings and ready to go should he be needed.
Finishing the season having played 13 games in the Hostplus Cup and a finals series with the Seagulls' Hastings Deering Colts, Bryant has returned with even extra motivation following his post-season chat to help him map out a path to the NRL.
"At the end of last season, we had our end of year meetings and the coaching staff have told me that I'm a real chance if I worked hard and put in the effort," he told titans.com.au.
"I just want to be consistent at training, be a consistent footy player on the weekends and always turn up. Hopefully doing that will allow me to get that debut jersey.
"I've put on a bit of weight and muscle, so hopefully I can give it a red hot crack."
Helping ignite the fire in the former Palm Beach Currumbin rake's belly is his rollercoaster year with the Titans; battling a stress fracture in his foot in the pre-season to then recovering and making his Queensland Cup debut for the Tweed, before two unexpected exits in both the Cup and Colts grades as the Seagulls made their charge to the finals.
Although it was a rough ending to 2023, Bryant left the field with his head held high, having notched up what he had hoped to as well as learning what it takes at succeed at the elite levels of the game.
"The biggest thing I learnt was that you get no second chances... there's no room for mistakes or errors," he said.
"You've always got to be on your toes and it's tough footy playing against adults.
"I think the way we finished the season hurt a little bit, but I did tick a few of my boxes this year playing a fair few Cup games which was alright for me.
"It was a low blow, but all-in-all, I think I got what I wanted out of the year."
Now into week five of the pre-season under new coach Des Hasler, it's been a totally new experience for the younger brother of Brisbane Heat striker Max Bryant who is thankful to be back and training at 100 percent after being sidelined for the start of last year's early training.
"I missed a bunch of last pre-season due to injury, so it's been pretty full on. The first pre-season I did was a lot different to this one... it's been pretty challenging at times," Bryant said.
You get no time to stop, which is good in a way because you don't get any breaks on the field... you're always moving so it's good.
"Dessie has come in and changed the whole landscape of training. It's a bit more hard work for us boys, but it will definitely benefit us in the long-run."