Rising playmaker Tex Hoy isn't sure of his standing in a full-strength Newcastle side but is determined to put his case forward when filling in for Kalyn Ponga in round one.
Ponga has confirmed he is next to no chance of recovering from shoulder surgery in time for the season opener, with a round 3-4 return more likely.
Hoy told NRL.com he has not been assured the No.1 jersey for the March 12 home clash with the Bulldogs but will be doing everything in his power to earn it.
"There's some competition there at fullback at the moment but I'm going to put my hand up as best I can," Hoy said.
"I've got some things to work on at training. I've got to get my fitness up because there's a lot of running at fullback. My decision making as well, I'm trying to focus on that but I'm going to put my hand up there and hopefully be there round one."
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In what could be a short-term audition, Hoy said he hadn't given much thought to how he gets back into the team once Ponga and eventually Blake Green return.
"I'm not really focused on that, we've got round one coming up and I want to put my best foot forward there filling in at that fullback spot," he said.
"I just want to focus on that now and once Greeny's back and KP's back I'll figure that out with the coaches. Who knows, there might be an injury at another position I need to fill in."
Hoy's nine NRL appearances have featured two starts at fullback and seven games off the bench but he said ideally his longer-term future would be at five-eighth.
"When I was younger when I did all the junior Knights stuff I was more in the halves but then I got to 20s and last year played a lot of fullback," he said.
"I'm pretty comfortable with both. I wouldn't mind looking at five-eighth going forward, I feel like that's a position I could fit in pretty nicely with Kalyn obviously being here at the club at fullback for the next couple of years.
"There's competition there too so I'll have to work hard."
Hoy believes his tackling and first contact in defence will require some work if he's to make a full-time halves switch at NRL level while his organisation in defence at fullback is something to work on in the short term.
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"[At] Fullback you don't do a lot of tackling, you do two or three tackles a game but in the halves you might do 12 or you might do 40 so there's a lot of defence to work on," he said.
"You've got a lot of decisions to make in defence as well. At fullback you have your line, you're tracking behind so there's a bit there but for five-eighth you more have to work on that contact in defence.
"They [fullbacks] are a big part of how the team defends. It's a pretty big job so if you stuff up the numbers it's on you a bit.
"Going forward five-eighth is probably the spot I'll look at but at the moment I'm going to stick to fullback and put my hand up there."