Reuben Garrick says matching Tom Trbojevic's workload is the biggest challenge in making a successful switch to fill the injured superstar's fullback role at Manly.
The Sea Eagles have now won six of their past seven NRL matches without Trbojevic, including victories in the past two weeks without the Dally M medallist.
It's a far cry from the start of last year, which included the worst opening month to a season in the club's history without their No.1.
Manly players have credited a different style of football to what they play when Trbojevic is in the side.
They say Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran are linking up more often and their forwards are gaining more impetus early on in their attacking sets.
But for Garrick, the key has been trying to equal Trbojevic's workload, which is among the heaviest of any fullback in the NRL.
"I've tried to base my game off running hard and getting more touches," Garrick said.
"I try and get out and get more plays in the set and then copy Tom a bit where he takes that play four or five carry to get our kick chase onside.
"It's just about getting my work rate up a bit more, it plays you into the game a bit more too.
"Then off the back of that I get out where Foz and Chez tell me to go."
Garrick's touches and runs have increased significantly since first filling in at fullback, but he is still short of the high possession numbers that Trbojevic can boast.
The 24-year-old scored a try in Manly's win over Gold Coast on Saturday night and has been relatively error-free in his first fortnight at fullback with Trbojevic expected to miss at least another two weeks.
Garrick will face his biggest test in the No.1 jersey so far this year on Thursday night, trying to diffuse and shut down Cronulla's high-flying attack.
A centre growing up before shifting to wing on his move to Manly in 2019, Garrick had limited experience at fullback when first thrown into the role late that year.
But he has now established himself as Manly's fill-in fullback when Trbojevic is absent.
While young gun Tolutau Koula was originally named at No.1 against Newcastle before a calf injury ruled him out, Garrick had always expected to be Trbojevic's replacement.
"I've got a few more runs on the board there now," Garrick said.
"I'm still just filling in for the team, and they're helping me out a lot ... but yes, I am feeling more comfortable.
"I enjoy it as well. It's a bit of a change-up from wing."
Australian Associated Press