Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks will make a welcome return from a hamstring on Saturday night – his first appearance since former halves partner Mitchell Moses left the club.
Parramatta's new recruit was still at the joint venture when Brooks last took to the field in Round 10, but the Tigers halfback now finds himself preparing to link with Tuimoala Lolohea in the halves for the first time in his career.
"It's my team now so I have to take full control of the side so it's an exciting challenge for me," Brooks said on Wednesday.
"I've had two sessions with Tui so it might take a bit of time to get our combination going. He's got good footwork and plays his best footy when he takes on the line so that was exciting to see."
After missing only seven games in total over three seasons prior to the 2017 season, Brooks has missed six this year after succumbing to the muscle tendon issue in his hamstring twice – his longest stint on the sidelines since he made his Telstra Premiership debut in 2013.
"It's good to be back obviously after spending some weeks on the sidelines watching the boys and not being able to help," he said.
"I did it before the Broncos game, it wasn't too bad but when we tried to push it to play in that game it made it worse.
"I have history with hamstrings so they wanted me to spend a bit more time out. I wanted to play last week but they thought it would be best to rest another week.
"It's just something I have to stay on top of and hopefully it doesn't come back."
Despite the Tigers languishing in 15th on the Telstra Premiership ladder, Brooks remained hopeful the side could begin to string some victories on the board – starting this weekend against a depleted Sharks line-up before clashes with the injury-hit Titans and bottom-placed Knights.
"We didn't play our best footy in the Dragons game but almost won it in the end and last week against the Roosters was pretty good in the first half and then the second was disappointing," he said.
"I guess we do get [Cronulla] at a good time but in saying that they're a great team and obviously won the comp last year. Last time they had all their players out they beat the Bulldogs so it's definitely going to be tough.
"We're not sitting where we want to be but a win will get us back on track. Last year we weren't in a great spot and then we started stringing a few wins together and almost made the finals so we can take a bit of confidence out of that."
Meanwhile, the departure of Moses mid-season makes for an interesting household with Brooks still living with Moses and the Roosters-bound James Tedesco.
"I haven't played yet since he has gone so nothing has changed much for me," Brooks said.
"It's all still the same [at home], we don't get our training gear mixed up now though.
"It will be interesting when we play them in a couple of weeks."