Amid rumours of Cowboy Robert Lui's desire to return to Sydney next season, clubmate Tariq Sims has told NRL.com that he feels the five-eighth is "100 per cent committed to the Cowboys".
The two have gotten to know each other quite well since Lui came to the club in a frustrating 2012 for both men.
They would bond over making the best out of a bad situation, spending days on end in the gym after promising starts to the year turned sour – Sims' gruelling rehabilitation after breaking, then re-breaking the same leg within 12 months, and Lui's ban from playing rugby league following a legal matter.
Season 2014 features the same story of two players banding together, but for a different reason, with Sims recently finalising a deal with the Newcastle Knights after highly-publicised negotiations through the last few months.
"We have had some chats about [the media commentary]. It's obviously something that's always going to be in the back of your mind and if you let it hang around, it's going to affect your football," Sims said.
"I've given him some little tricks and advice, but this isn't Robbie's first dance; he's done this sort of stuff before so he's mature enough to know when it's time to work and when it's time to think about life.
"He's not really getting affected by it, and with the contract sort of stuff he will just leave it to his manager to look after and obviously he'll have to consult with his partner with what they do.
"He is 100 per cent committed to the Cowboys. He wouldn't be playing first grade if he wasn't. He's a very loyal person."
Sims kept the kudos coming, crediting Lui with the Cowboys improved attacking potency upon taking the reins at five-eighth over the past four games, where their scoring output is up by almost a converted try per game.
"I put [our recent improved form] down to Robbie Lui. He's been playing some outstanding football and he's a little bit of an unsung hero. He's doing really well, he's playing some great football, some of the best of the season," said Sims.
"He definitely helps my game and the whole right side's game the way he is starting to play now and he's playing with a lot of confidence and he's shouldering a lot more responsibility with Johnathan [Thurston] sharing the lead role there.
"It's a really good time to start clicking and everyone is starting to get on the right page because if you want a real good crack at the finals, you're going to have to start now."
Whether Lui does stay at home or take a second stint south of the border next season, co-captain Thurston is still happy with the playmaking talent the side has at its disposal.
With fullback Lachlan Coote due to return for a full pre-season, the Cowboys will have the option to chop and change at fullback and the halves, with both Coote and Michael Morgan tried and tested at both positions.
"I think we're pretty blessed with the talent there with 'Morgo' and 'Cootey', we have a lot of options," Thurston said when asked who he sees as his sidekick next year.
"I don't really know what our team list will be like next year, I haven't really thought about it. I think we're obviously a little bit thin on the outside backs with 'Tatey' (Brent Tate) going down and a couple of boys mightn't be here next year, so that's just for the coaching staff and 'Parry' (football manager Peter Parr) to organise that."
But for now, the 17-man team – unchanged from last week – is looking to keep the ball rolling this Saturday and end a near eight-year drought on the turf of ANZ Stadium.