Brock Lamb insists his combination with Mitchell Pearce is coming together well enough to convince Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown to start with the pair in the club's trial match against Parramatta on February 17.
While Brown is set to mix up his halves pairings for the hit-out, Lamb is set to use the pre-season fixture in his hometown as a stepping stone to state his case.
The 20-year-old's future has been under the spotlight for weeks following the arrival of Pearce in November with the club now set to face a battle to retain the local junior.
Off-contract at season's end, Lamb is competing with Connor Watson and Trent Hodkinson for the No.6 jersey alongside Pearce in the halves and said the former Sydney Roosters halfback was having a strong influence on the playmakers at the club.
"Mitch has been good, obviously he's smart with his knowledge on the game so has passed that onto not only me but all our halves," Lamb told NRL.com.
"It's good to have someone like him around the boys. He's got the big match experience and is a leader. Our combination is always growing and has been working well so there are exciting times ahead.
"It feels right around the corner. We've just started to do trial-type games at training so you know it's not too far away. It keeps you on your toes to train hard and work hard."
Club legend Danny Buderus said Lamb would benefit from Pearce's arrival even if he's not included in the final 17-man line-up in the first round.
The Knights lost local junior Jack Cogger from 2019 to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Wednesday and Buderus insists the club needs to do everything they can to hang onto the Maitland product long-term.
"Brock's in a situation where he's got plenty of time on his side," Buderus told NRL.com.
"He probably played first grade before his time and he knows that. He's a smart kid and in a situation where he can learn now.
"There's a lot to learn off Mitchell. He's always in the game and pushing his forwards around. He understands where the flow of the ball goes but I think he's also looking forward to playing with some new personnel as well.
"You need depth in all positions and always throughout the year – Brock could play majority of the year – you just don't know.
"The club needs him and he's not going anywhere this year. Over the years the Knights have let go of many players contracted but now they're in a position where they will can go one better and can keep him."