Until he went down injured against North Queensland in pre-season, 2019 was supposed to be the year Scott Drinkwater made his name in the NRL.
A torn pectoral muscle against the Cowboys in Mackay in a trial in March sidelined Drinkwater just as he was getting ready to be the man to fill Billy Slater's No.1 shirt at Melbourne.
While he was sidelined, Drinkwater could only watch as Jahrome Hughes and Ryan Papenhuyzen leapfrogged him in the pecking order at the Storm.
Desperate for a chance, the 22-year-old quit the Storm and ironically will make his first NRL appearance of the season for the Cowboys in Friday's clash with St George Illawarra.
"It's good to get up here and really see how I go in the NRL," Drinkwater said.
"See if I'm cut out for it. It's a big challenge this Friday night and I can't wait."
Coach Paul Green had no qualms rushing Drinkwater straight into his starting 13 against the Dragons, with the fullback pushing New Zealand international Jordan Kahu from the No.1 jersey and into the centres.
Despite the odd path to get his chance, Drinkwater is certain he's ready to shine.
"I guess you've got to be confident to be able to perform," he said.
"I'm pretty confident but in saying that I don't want to put too much pressure on myself this Friday night, just want to get out there and do my job."