Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma only has to cast his mind back to round one last year to remind him nothing can be taken for granted.
Along with having two hernias removed, off-season groin surgery interrupted Nofoaluma's preparation for the start of 2018 and he was forced to work his way back into the side via the Intrust Super Premiership.
While he added 17 games to his overall tally of 105 career appearances, the 25-year-old is determined to start 2019 on a far better note.
"It gets thrown around a lot but last year I didn't complete the pre-season and for any player that's really important," Nofoaluma told NRL.com.
"The two hernias affected me and how I ran. This year there's a lot of positives and good things that I've done to put myself in a better position to be physically fit.
"The couple of years I went well I had a decent pre-season so it's definitely important. I want to do that again and feel a lot more settled this time around."
Nofoaluma usually gives away a height advantage to rival wingers but a brutal pre-season under new coach Michael Maguire has convinced him he can match it with the game's best.
"I get along great with Madge and the club has picked up a good one," he said.
"I'm confident for the season and what he's done with us mentally - he's changed how we think around toughness and confidence.
"There's a lot of things he's brought from his success elsewhere and we're all adapting to his style of coaching."
Rival wingers David Fusitu'a and Blake Ferguson finished 2018 leading in the try-scoring and metre-eating departments respectively and Nofoaluma wants to combine the two aspects of his game to play his part in helping Wests Tigers return to the finals for the first time since 2011 .
"I have a goal to be up there with the best," he said.
"I was in a position last year, and not many players know, but I was so hungry to win. I was doing everything I could to try and get us over the line.
"I've had a focus around my defence and know I needed to work on that. I've played over 100 games now for this club and I want to build something great and set us up to win a grand final."