Despite playing 25 of North Queensland's 26 games in 2014, incumbent Cowboys hooker Rory Kostjasyn says he won't be taking anything for granted this pre-season.
With plenty of players vying for Kostjasyn's No. 9 jersey, the 27-year-old can't rest on his laurels as he gears up for his sixth season of first grade.
"We have plenty of depth in the hooking role which is good. In a good NRL squad you need that depth, positional competition is vital so you can keep pushing yourself to perform at your best every week," Kostjasyn told NRL.com.
"In the end it takes a whole squad to win a competition… so everyone is working towards the same goal. Unfortunately only 17 get picked every week so we all just have to keep working hard and trying to improve."
Headlining the list of hookers looking to overtake Kostjasyn as the club's number one dummy-half is former Brisbane rake Jake Granville, who played eight games for the Broncos last season.
Ray Thompson is also another strong contender after playing 17 NRL games in 2014 while former Dragon Cameron King will also be putting his name forward after an ACL tear ruined his previous season after two games in first grade.
Josh Chudleigh, a former Australian Schoolboys representative who has come up through the ranks at the Cowboys, is yet to make his NRL debut but will also be looking to impress all the right people.
Despite the strong opposition for Kostjasyn's spot, the Berkeley Vale Panthers junior is still looking to help his junior rivals improve while he continues to work on developing his own game.
"I just really want to work on my attack a bit to see where I can be more effective there and just help steer the boys around a bit more," Kostjasyn said.
"I just want to take a little bit of pressure off the halves and just control our ruck and get the team to spots on the field where we want to attack.
"[Granville and I] work together quite a lot and help each other out. We're pushing one another along with Cameron King, Ray Thompson, and Josh Chudleigh so we are all there competing and improving together.
"[Coach Paul Green has] been pushing us in the right direction and hopefully we can continue to improve under him."
With the abundance of hookers at the Cowboys, it has created another happy headache for Green who is sure to continue mulling over the makeup of his spine into the new year with the likes of Michael Morgan, Lachlan Coote, Robert Lui, and Thompson all competing for fullback and halves spots.
First published on NRL.com