Wests Tigers fullback Adam Doueihi will be looking to step up his leadership capabilities next season as the club looks to life without Benji Marshall – a player whose aura is near irreplaceable.
Coming off a tough and at times hostile 26-24 loss to his former club South Sydney on Thursday, Doueihi said his position as one of the few players at Concord with finals experience he would need to take on more responsibility in Marshall's absence in 2021.
"He's a freak of a player, you could see his try assists there, he had his hands all over the game," Doueihi said.
"Just an amazing bloke to play with.
"He's a big leader in this club obviously, we have a young squad and we don't have much experience, for him to be around the boys at training and in the game, 20-nil down still keeping us calm and having the belief in the squad.
Marshall the creator again for Kepaoa to get his first NRL try
"He led us to that victory last week [against Manly] with some of his team talks and calming us younger boys down and letting us stick to the process.
"He's a big name, has an aura about him around the club, loves the Tigers and you can see he's still got some footy in him.
"I think it helps [having someone with that aura], especially at our club, we're a young squad, not many boys have played finals footy or many first-grade games so a big name does help us out."
Get Caught Up: Round 18
Doueihi had no hesitation in putting his hand up for more responsibility.
"I've come from Souths and we had some experienced players over there and I made two prelims in my first two years there," he added.
"I'm one of the few boys in the squad that has played finals footy, I do see myself having leadership qualities and next year with some leadership going I'll have to step up a bit and help these younger boys coming through."
After starring at centre against Manly then returning to fullback to cover Moses Mbye's injury for the Souths game, Doueihi – who spent his junior years at five-eighth – admitted he still isn't sure of his best spot.
"I sort of came as a fullback and probably haven't gone as good as I've wanted to at the back," he said.
"Playing centre last week I really felt comfortable but with the late change Madge [coach Michael Maguire] put me back to fullback. I still like playing five-eighth, I played all my junior footy and under 20s in the halves.
"Long term I'd like to see myself there but it's up to Madge where he sees me."
Every try from round 18
Overall, Doueihi said he was happy with how he was developing, despite not producing the consistent form he'd have liked at fullback this year.
"I've had a few niggles with the longer season and no byes this year and everyone's carrying niggles now so you can't do much extras on the paddock at training which is a bit disappointing," he said.
"There's stuff I have to work on, it will be a big off-season for me to pick my speed up, get strong in the gym, get my endurance up.
"I haven't really done a pre-season, I've had surgeries the past few and the World Cup in my first one so looking forward to a really good pre-season next year and working on some things to fix up my game."