Nathan Green is hoping to impress on the wing against the Bulldogs filling in for the injured Jason Nightingale. Credit: Robb Cox. Copyright: NRL Photos.
16 days is a long time in rugby league.
It's enough to fix most minor ailments and bumps a player might carry. It certainly has the leg room to fit in an entire Representative Round of football, and you can bet your bottom dollar it is enough to go from the highest of highs that the regular NRL season can fuel to an entirely different ball game.
By the time Sunday afternoon rolls around, it will have been 16 days since raw St George Illawarra Dragons centre Nathan Green lined up for his first Anzac Day game against the Roosters, in just his second appearance in the Red V for 2014.
For Green, it was "definitely the biggest crowd" he had ever played in front of.
"It was everything I thought it was going to be and more. Playing in front of that big crowd and the Last Post before the game... it gets pretty emotional. I think it's a tremendous opportunity to play that game and treat it with the respect that it has and just try and put in a good performance," Green told NRL.com at the time.
But Green is aware 30,000-strong crowds will only figure on the Dragons' horizon again this season if they manage to regroup and finish in the finals zone.
While that's a collective challenge for the team, Green faces his own test to remain part of their regular playing group.
While he had hoped he would replace injured teammate Dylan Farrell in the centres for the long run, the 22-year-old will instead line up against the Bulldogs on Sunday on the wing in place of Kiwi Jason Nightingale who injured his knee in the trans-Tasman Test last Friday night, with Joel Thompson preferred to partner Gerard Beale in the three-quarters.
Green remains thankful for the opportunity to stay in the NRL but realises he needs to prove to coach Steve Price he's deserving of a place at centre when Nightingale returns.
Green will draw on some advice his mentor gave him before the Roosters clash, with Price telling him: "Just to get my defence right – that's probably a big asset of mine and I had a big match-up with Jennings [on Anzac Day] so he's always a tough centre to come up against – he's one of the best in the competition."
Roaming his side of the field on Sunday will be Test centre Josh Morris; although he isn't marking up one on one he knows his reads will need to be spot on if he's to help the men inside him contain the blue-and-white speedster.
Green backs himself to make the transition, and knows a good display will go a long way towards helping him secure a jersey in his preferred position.