Promising Storm centre Curtis Scott had to watch as Cheyse Blair and Justin Olam took turns at filling his spot in the Storm line-up while he was serving a three-match suspension.
In the end it was his centre partner Will Chambers' own time on the sidelines that gave him a chance to repay his coach's faith.
"I went over to the right side for a couple of weeks with Chambers being out. It felt really good that Craig and the coaching staff put me on that side to do a job to help out Crofty when he first came into the side, and Jahrome Hughes as well," Scott told NRL.com.
"Once Blairy came in, he did a magnificent job for us. We've got good depth at the club. He was fighting for a position as well.
"That's the nature of the game and brings the best out of each other, being competitive."
Match: Roosters v Storm
Grand Final -
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney
The 20-year-old has worked hard to improve his game and used Chambers as a sounding board for the finer art of centre play.
Scott was still a teenager during grand final week last year and admitted to getting a little overawed at the prospect of playing in front of 80,000 fans.
"Last year, it was a little bit intimidating, but I loved it," he said.
"The senior players in the team got around you. They said these things don't come around too often. I really enjoyed the week and am excited for it to come around again."
Scott, who will play his 39th NRL game on Sunday, will mark the taller and heavier Joseph Manu for the Roosters.
Both are at a similar stage in their careers: early 20s, approaching 50 first-grade games and eager to learn.
"Joseph Manu had a really good match-up against Greg Inglis last week," the Storm centre said.
"He brings a lot of strike in attack and defends well as well. He's been playing a really solid season for him this year and I'm excited to go up against him."