Wests Tigers back-rower Curtis Sironen makes his comeback from a hamstring niggle via the bench this weekend and wants to prove he's worthy of a starting spot again.
The club have lost all three games since Sironen was injured after a high-scoring win in Round 1, then a strong victory over Manly at Leichhardt in Round 2 despite Sironen going off early due to his hamstring.
With Robbie Farah also being worked back from injury and back-rower Dene Halatau performing the Mr Fix-it role plugging gaps in the interim, Sironen finds himself on the bench behind second-rowers Halatau and Chris Lawrence and lock Sauaso Sue for the trip to Newcastle on Sunday.
But at this stage the 22-year-old is just relieved to be back on the field after a trying few weeks watching his mates lose three straight.
"It's been tough watching the last couple of weeks," Sironen told NRL.com.
"I had a little hammy niggle against Manly the other week which was annoying. I've just been doing my rehab and I'm ready to go. I'm coming off the bench but it will be exciting.
"I'd never had a hammy niggle before so it was a bit disappointing. I wasn't really sure how long I'd be out.
"I missed three games I'm but ready to go now, hopefully I can get through this week at training and be 100 per cent going into the game and then just build off that and try and earn another starting spot eventually.
"I'm just worried about getting back out there mate, I'm really excited. After a couple of losses the hunger's there even more. I'll be ready to go."
It is hard enough watching on from the sidelines at any time, let alone when the team's losing and you're powerless to help. Sironen focused his energy on doing everything with the rehab group to get back on the field as quick as possible.
"I'll be ready to go. I'm not sure how many minutes I'll get but just excited to get out on the field," he said.
Sironen's return was welcomed by good mate and fellow back-rower Kyle Lovett.
"Yeah it's awesome, he'll come in and do what he does, take the ball forward and get a bit of skill going for us, he'll be good for us definitely," Lovett said.
Senior man Halatau added that despite Sironen's age he was already turning into a senior player in the squad.
"He's only young still but he's been playing for a few years now and he was working pretty consistently on the edge there during the pre-season so he'll come in and help out myself and maybe Chrissy Lawrence and give us some time elsewhere," Halatau told NRL.com.
"He's trained hard to get back on the field, he's been working hard with the physio and the staff and I know he's really keen to get out there and make a difference. He's in good shape and I'm looking forward to seeing him go round."
It won't be an easy task against Newcastle though, especially with powerful second-rower Tariq Sims making his return from a five-game suspension for his first hit-out of the year.
"They're a hungry side as well, a couple of losses is going to change the attitude of the team, same as us," Sironen said.
"So we're not taking them lightly, they're a quality side, they've got a few players coming back, they've got Sims back so they'll be ready to rock and roll."