New North Queensland Cowboys signing Esan Marsters insists his move to Townsville will give him a shot at playing finals football to fulfil a goal that has proven elusive in his short career to date.
The 23-year-old Kiwi international was given a release by the Wests Tigers from the final year of his contract in 2020 and has signed a three-year deal with the Cowboys.
He will be competing with players such as Justin O'Neill, Tom Opacic and Ben Hampton for a centre spot. Masters has proven to be a quality and consistent performer for the Tigers in his 61 NRL games to date. He played in all 24 of the club's matches in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons but is yet to play finals football.
"You look around the park at the talent in this Cowboys squad and I believe whoever goes out there can do the job," Marsters told NRL.com.
"The thing that stands out to me is our forward pack with Jason [Taumalolo], Jordan [McLean] and Josh McGuire.
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"One thing that was always on my mind was to play finals footy. That is where you really test yourself. I was hopeful we could have played a few finals games last season [at the Tigers] but there was stuff I could have controlled better than what I did.
"I am looking forward to knuckling down and earning all the boys' respect and building a combination with the boys around me."
Marsters toured the Cowboys facility before signing and was impressed with the vision coach Paul Green sold him.
"I had dinner with Greeny, lunch with a couple of the coaching staff and a tour around the place as well and I enjoyed what I heard and saw," Marsters said.
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"It is a change of scenery and I wanted to test myself off the field more than on it, so I can find a bit more consistency in my footy.
"I was really impressed by what the club has achieved and I like the fact it is a one-club town and the fans are right behind you. I do enjoy that family environment. I had a good chat with Greeny about his plans for the team and what I can bring."
Marsters left the Tigers and Michael Maguire on good terms and counts his New Zealand coach and former club mentor as a good friend.
"Madge has been good to me over the past year and I am thankful for what he has done for me. He gave me my New Zealand debut and I will always be grateful to him for that," he said.
The move to the Cowboys followed Marsters' marriage to wife Isabelle in October with the couple to start a now start a new life in Townsville.
"We spoke about what would be the best move and we thought the Cowboys was the best option," he said.
Although starting the pre-season in the rehab squad, Marsters is well on track to be fit and firing for the trials in February.
"I had my ankle cleaned out a couple of months ago so I am in rehab until they let me run on it which should be a couple of weeks before Christmas," Marsters said.
"I just want to get my ankle right so I can make the team throughout the whole year."