Roosters five-eighth Luke Keary can't wait to finally get some game time with Sam Walker, after being forced to watch his young clubmate's debut season from the sidelines.
Keary described the teenage half as the most naturally gifted he had ever come across, with each ready to go for round one's home game against Newcastle.
In a perfect world Walker, the logical long-term successor to Cooper Cronk, would have been guided into first grade this year by triple premiership-winner Keary.
Instead he was thrust into the main playmaking role at the age of 18 last year following Keary's season-ending ACL injury.
Now Keary says the lessons Walker learned last year, while not ideal at the time, will stand him and the team in good stead this year.
"He got thrown in and he did a terrific job; he was still 18, 19 years old," Keary said.
"He'd probably be the most naturally gifted half I've come across.
"You want those players to keep that but you also want them to build a foundation that's going to keep them in the game for 10, 12, 13 years. (Johnathan) Thurston's a good example, he had the foundation but he also could play some pretty amazing footy."
Size on: Walker bigger and willing
Keary believes even in just the short time Walker has been in first grade, he has matured significantly with his approach to the game.
"He got a quick lesson in first grade last year from all different perspectives," Keary said.
"Definitely the maturity, the way he sees the game, his temperament, his control. It was good to see, good to watch him do his thing last year, get some lessons and I'm super excited to play with him this year."
Of Keary's own injury recovery, he said he was in full training from the knee reconstruction before Christmas and despite a minor setback due to ankle bone bruising, had been back in full training for over two weeks and was in no doubt for round one.
"I probably could have played last week," he said.
"I feel good, I've had a real good last month. I did the full block pre-Christmas then I had maybe three weeks off at the start of January then back into it.
"I had the ankle from 2019 that I hurt. I got it cleaned out halfway through the ACL surgery and then I had a big block pre-Christmas and had a bit of bone bruising in the ankle. I got off it for three weeks … I've been back into full, full training for two weeks now."
Walker also spoke about the chance to combine with Keary, but one of his major areas of focus over the summer was putting on a couple of kilograms after copping plenty of rough treatment from opposition forwards last year.
"It's a slow process but I've definitely put on a couple of kilos from last year which has been awesome. I feel stronger than last season, more confident in my body," Walker said.
"I'm a bit over 80kgs, which is good for me. I am definitely a couple of kilos more than I was last year. I was 78kg in most games.
"Just in the gym and just eating well. Coming back here and spending a bit of time with the nutritionist. Helping me put a diet together which complements me putting a bit of size on."
Momirovski excited to learn more from Robinson
He said his combination with Keary already had a strong foundation after two full pre-seasons together.
"We've spent probably as much time on the training paddock as we have the video room," Walker added.
"It's been really clear for myself and him what we want to do this year and the style of football we want to play. I am really excited to get back into it.
"Having an NRL season under my belt makes it really clear what I have to do this year. It's really clear the style of footy I want to play. Having Luke there to guide me, we have a game plan set and the style of football we want to play and it's really clear going into this season."
Match: Roosters v Knights
Round 1 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney