North Queensland forward Corey Jensen is aware of the challenge he faces to secure regular game time in the 2019 Telstra Premiership season.
With Josh McGuire having arrived from the Broncos and representative props Jordan McLean and Matt Scott hoping to avoid a repeat of the injuries which slowed them last year, Jensen is facing a tough task to get a spot in the 17.
When you add superstar lock and fellow middle forward Jason Taumalolo to the mix, both Jensen and fellow prop Scott Bolton have it all to do. Their first chance is likely to come in Saturday’s trial against the Titans on the Sunshine Coast.
"It'll be hard [to get a spot in the top 17] but in saying that it gives you something to strive for and try and make you better each day and make you a better player," Jensen said.
"So, that's what I'm trying to do… try to be better and better my game."
Jensen made 18 top-grade appearances in 2018 for an average of 88 running metres in half-an-hour of game time.
In a bid to bolster his chances, Jensen has added a few kilos of muscle to the 108kg frame he played with last season.
"I've put on a few kilos since last year which has helped me a lot out there, and hopefully I can hold it and maintain it throughout the year," Jensen said.
After the arrival of Josh McGuire, Nene Macdonald, Tom Opacic and Kurt Baptiste provided a breath of fresh air during the pre-season, Jensen said this week's signing of Jordan Kahu would provide a huge boost to the backline.
"He's the ultimate professional, we've seen what he can do when he's been playing for Brisbane," he said.
"He's a quality player so he knows how to play numerous positions and he's a very experienced player so wherever you put him he fits in really well."