Uncertainty no hassle for Newcastle's Randell
With an abundance of uncertainty set to cloud the immediate future of Newcastle utility Tyler Randell, the latest man to claim the Knights' Mr Fix-It role remains unfazed as he looks to establish himself in the NRL.
Following his solid performance in his second NRL appearance, Randell isn't stressing over whether he's going to be in first grade every week as coach Rick Stone works out what works best with Australian representative Sione Mata'utia.
After debuting in Round 25 last season against the Eels, just 20 minutes after playing NSW Cup, Randell's NRL experience has been as unexpected as it is uncertain at this point in time.
Named on an extended bench for this weekend's game against the North Queensland Cowboys alongside Mata'utia, Randell remains untroubled by his place in the team with fitness concerns remaining over captain Kurt Gidley's hamstring.
"It doesn't bother me [being on the extended bench]. I'd rather be in the mix than not at all," Randell said.
"All I can do is keep training during the week thinking I'm playing that weekend. If he leaves me out I'm still happy but if he picks then I'm stoked so all I can do is train well during the week."
While it would be a cruel blow if he's not to take his place in the team on Saturday night, Randell is pleased nonetheless with his performance against the Warriors, calling it a benchmark of confidence he can work from for the rest of the season.
Randell's first try and conversion in the NRL and 19 tackles even saw coach Stone label the Aberdeen Tigers junior's value to the team as "significant" – a huge self-assurance boost for the 22-year-old who re-signed with the club for a further two seasons last week.
With Tyrone Roberts and James McManus undergoing concussion tests over the course of their Round 1 clash with the Warriors, Randell ended up playing in the centres and halves while maintaining his more familiar role at hooker by replacing Adam Clydsdale.
Such is Randell's relaxed approach, he's happy in his attempt to reinvigorate the Knights' utility role previously held by Gidley, John Morris and Matt Hilder, among others.
"I've played most of my juniors at five-eighth so I'm pretty confident playing there which was good. I was relaxing on the bench thinking I was going to come for Adam at hooker but Tyrone got a bit of a head knock so I went on," Randell said.
"My first touch was my conversion too and I think I went a bit over time with that one so I'm not sure what's going to go on there. But it was a really good first game for the year and hopefully I can keep it going."
With his confidence at an all-time high, Randell is simply focused on giving back to the club who gave him a shot all the way back in Harold Matthews.
"Hopefully I can keep playing consistently all season," Randell said.
"Now that I have a spot, I hope to keep it and repay the faith the club has shown in me."