Reuben Cotter has a fire in his belly to string a full NRL season together for North Queensland, as the prop seeks to cull the demons of a preliminary final loss in 2022 after the high's of a breakout year.
Cotter is coming off his most consistent campaign in Cowboys colours, earned a call-up to Queensland's victorious State of Origin side and a maiden berth in the Kangaroo's World Cup-winning squad.
He played in 18 of North Queensland's fixtures last season, after a mid-year hamstring injury sidelined the Sarina product for seven rounds.
The 24-year-old, who missed three consecutive seasons between 2016-18 due to multiple ACL tears, says the highs of 2022 were great but he wants to be playing at every opportunity in 2023.
"I really enjoyed it - I played more footy than ever," he told reporters on Thursday.
"The goal now is to play even more footy again. I missed a few games through injury so really looking looking forward to this year.
"I missed the the next two Origins after game one so that's something I'm definitely trying for this year is to put a series together. And we'd obviously like to go one more as well back at club land."
Smaller in stature but not in heart, Cotter made 703 tackles in 2022. He only missed 19 and had 40 tackle breaks in his 18 games.
He scored just his second try of the year against Parramatta in their 24-20 home loss as the Cowboys fell short of a third grand final appearance in eight years.
Cotter says the scars from that evening in Townsville are still felt but there is a common belief amongst the squad they can go one further this season.
"We've dealt with that and we we spoke about it as a group," Cotter said.
"We've got heaps to improve on this year and we know our identity now and what our best footy looks like. So, we just have to do more of that."