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Panthers winger Charlie Staines wants to put a personal rollercoaster year at the club behind him after conceding he mentally drifted in and out of games last season.

After bursting onto the scene with four tries on NRL debut in 2020, the 21-year-old has endured a mixed 18 months since with expectations high on the Forbes junior given his maiden game heroics.

Staines featured in 21 appearances for the Panthers in 2021 but was overlooked towards the finals with coach Ivan Cleary preferring Stephen Crichton and Paul Momirovski on the right edge.

However, with Momirovski's return to the Roosters and the departure of Matt Burton to Canterbury, Staines is now back in the frame for a starting spot and looking to get back into Cleary's line-up.

"Missing out on those big games has provided heaps of motivation for me this year," Staines told NRL.com.

Match Highlights: Sharks v Panthers

"I was itching to get out there with the boys in the semis and the grand final, that's driven me more to be consistently better this year.

"I had full faith in the coaching staff and where I was at. I have to be consistently better in every area. Last year I tended to float in and out of games mentally and not perform every week.

"I'm keen to play my best footy and wherever I end up in the backline as long as I do my best that's all I can do."

Some kind of pick up from Staines

Part of the Panthers' plan for Staines in the off-season has included asking the winger to put on some weight, a common theme for many players across the NRL with the size and strength of outside backs continuing to reach new heights.

"I've put on a little bit which has helped me," Staines said.

"You pretty much have free rein to eat good nutritious foods and eat all the time. I don't want to lose that speed but it's also important to have a bit more size.

"It's a mixture of attack and defence with my game. I want to have more carries and be more involved in the game and part of that is around being more confident enough to."

Despite playing fullback in the past two trials, Staines has spent most of his time on the wing during the pre-season but with the likes of Robert Jennings and Christian Crichton at his heels, he knows improvement must occur.

"There's a lot of good backs here still and nothing is guaranteed," he said.

"I don't think Ivan has got it set in stone with who will play on the right edge. A lot of the boys are training on both sides and in different positions."

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