When he turned up to pre-season training in November it made sense that Mitch Rein had signed a new contract with the Titans; it’s just that no one thought to ask.
Issued a lifeline to escape the confines of reserve grade in Penrith with a one-year deal on the Gold Coast, Rein played every game in 2018 for new coach Garth Brennan.
Whether off the bench or in the four starts in the run-on side during the time that Nathan Peats was injured, Rein brought much-needed energy to a team that won just eight games.
Given his positive contribution, reports surfaced in July that Rein was on the verge of being offered a new deal at the Titans but no contract was registered with the NRL until September 8.
By that time Gold Coast's season was over and a media release heralding the new contract was not issued, Rein turning up to pre-season training without anyone outside the organisation aware of how long he would be staying.
Other media outlets have reported the 29-year-old was on the open market at the end of the season but a player once touted for Origin honours with NSW confirmed he was committed to the Titans until the end of 2021.
Titans v Bulldogs - Round 10
"I already re-signed with the club last year, I don't even know if they announced it or not," Rein told NRL.com of his new three-year deal.
"Maybe we should just keep that a secret! Maybe they don't want to tell anyone!"
Some within the club believe the pressure being applied by Rein for a starting spot forced Peats – regarded as the club’s most dedicated trainer – to push his body to breaking point, rupturing his pectoral while doing extra work in the weights room two weeks into the season.
A foot injury that hampered his pre-season meant Rein didn’t feature in the Telstra Premiership until Peats went down.
With the team trying to break a three-game losing streak against the Bulldogs on Saturday, Rein is desperate to recapture the confidence that only comes from winning.
"You put so much into the games on the weekend and when you don't get the wins it hurts,” said Rein, who will play his 169th NRL game on Saturday.
"You start questioning whether you're doing enough and whether you're doing your job.
"That's just human nature I guess. You just want to win so bad so the only thing I can really do is concentrate on my own game and work hard.
"If you're doing your job then you're doing your best for the team."
The Titans have qualified for the finals just once since 2010 yet came into this season a popular pick among experts as a top-eight contender.
The acquisitions of Tyrone Peachey and Shannon Boyd were believed to be the missing pieces of the puzzle yet another loss this weekend would all but spell the end of their finals hopes before the halfway point of the season.
"That's why so far this year everyone has been so disappointed with our results," Rein said of the expectation on the team prior to the start of the season.
"We feel like we have taken that step, the club's moving forward with the new ownership and all the people in management here. They've got a very strong team there with Mal [Meninga] coming on board as well.
"It's really given the team that winning culture and we felt like we had a team to do really well this year.
"We just haven't been able to get it together. We're lacking that bit of confidence and killer edge but it's not far off.
"If we can just keep building on that it will happen before we know it."