Manly prop Nate Myles makes no attempt to hide his dissatisfaction with his own performances or the on-field output of his club last year but hopes some fresh faces and a back-to-basics approach will help return the northern beaches club to their former glory.
Speaking at a club media day just a week out from Round 1 teams being named, Myles was also adamant representative football was nowhere in his thinking this year – though he remains available for Queensland and Australia if called upon.
"Not up to standard," was Myles' blunt response when asked for his thoughts on 2016.
"Not up to standard for what this club's known for and what I'm here for. Well below par. I think this year, I'm excited to get into it because of the way things panned out last year."
The 31-year-old averaged 83 metres and 27 tackles per game last year – with very few attacking stats – in 43 minutes of game time per week. Injury and Origin restricted him to 16 of 24 appearances.
"If I had the magic recipe for [the form drop] I'd happily share it. It goes back to breaking things down to a simpler way, I don't think anything goes past running hard and tackling hard so I think I'll be leaning towards that this year," he added.
The club overall is looking to simplify things a bit in 2017, according to Myles.
"We haven't really looked past training hard and trying to play hard with the trial games and going over to the Nines," he said.
"I really like the way our guys have approached everything this year… there's a good energy floating around for the last couple of months so it's been good.
"The guys that are coming in are doing their job. I think our young back-rowers are doing some good things for us. We've got some big young front rowers coming through as well and I think to find the mix there is probably a job for the coaches to do but there's definitely an opportunity for our forward pack to start strong."
With names like Curtis Sironen, Shaun Lane, Jarrad Kennedy and Lloyd Perrett being added to the forward pack over the off-season – all players who were struggling to command a spot in first grade at their respective clubs last year – the desperation and competition for spots will benefit the club, he added.
"Finding those players that come to a club and are desperate and want to improve and secure a spot, that brings out that eagerness in other players and the competition's there and you can feel it at training and in the weights room," Myles said.
"I think our boys have attacked the pre-season pretty well and we're looking forward to the season."
Myles has set himself personal goals, as he always does, but elected not to specify what those are. They do not include representative jerseys, however.
"Mine are probably more mental than anything. Physically I've been training for 15 years and haven't seen much difference in the body… You want to make the most out of everything, you don't want to miss an opportunity," he said.
"Rep footy's not my goal this year. This club is and the way that our form is, we're not going past next Sunday against Parramatta," he said.
"They're a side that didn't have much to play for last year but managed to upset a lot of teams with the way they approached their games and if anything they'll be better.
"For sure [I'm available] but my focus is here. I've been [blessed] in regards to representative football. I'm very lucky for what I've been able to achieve but for me now it's about focusing on club footy. I'm not ruling myself in, I'm not ruling myself out of anything. My focus is on Manly."