Latrell Mitchell says he needs to be wary of opponents trying to bait him after getting uncharacteristically put off his game in the Roosters' opening-round loss to the Rabbitohs on Friday night.
Mitchell appeared more frustrated as the game went on, and had a running battle not only with opposition winger (and 2018 Maroons opponent) Dane Gagai but was also involved in several other flare-ups.
He also needed stitches in a forehead gash but that was the result of an accidental head clash with Gagai rather than foul play.
After the game, a smiling Mitchell laughed off both the literal and figurative head-to-head clashes.
"I think we're just competitive. Competitive nature, we've grown up with it. I just love it," he said.
"I don't know what happened (with the head clash) to be honest, I just stepped, I thought it was Sammy Burgess [with] a little sneaky one but obviously it must have been that first contact [with Gagai].
"Like I said he's very competitive, in Origin he brings his A-game but out there it's just another game. I like playing against him."
He conceded he will need to watch out for opponents trying to put him off his game more and more as his profile grows. Frustration appeared to be getting the better of him late in the game when he flung Alex Johnston to the ground after the ball had gone dead-in-goal.
"I think they want to bait me. They sort of got me a little bit tonight but I'll let them have that!" he laughed.
Match Highlights: Roosters v Rabbitohs
"I definitely feel as though I can be more of a threat if I get the ball, I was a bit quiet tonight and I'll take that upon myself and work hard on that.
"I know Willie Chambers, he was pretty good at it. The best. I think I went away from [my game], I've got to get back to playing my footy."
Mitchell did relish the opportunity to come up directly against veteran Souths, Maroons and Kangaroos centre Greg Inglis.
"It was awesome. I tried not to show him as much respect as I should have," Mitchell said.
"It's good to see him out there and playing some footy. I know he's had a bit of backlash (for a DUI charge over the off-season). I feel as though it's a step in the right direction for him.
"I want to praise him because he's GI but he's obviously a great opponent to go up against. I just didn't want to focus too much on it, it's obviously Greg Inglis but it's just another opponent."