Their fledgling NRL careers are barely off the ground, but St George Illawarra rookies Charly Runciman and Craig Garvey know the jockeying for 2014 positions will start in the next fortnight.
Desperate to bed down permanent spots in the Dragons' top grade squad for next season, the NSW under 20s teammates perhaps have more to play for than most before year's end.
Runciman is seeking a permanent spot at left centre in the wake of Matt Cooper's retirement, while St George Illawarra Holden Cup skipper Garvey is circling a back-up hooking role.
"It's something I really need to pride myself on - to play good consistent footy week in week out [to help 2014 prospects]," Runciman said.
"If I'm not doing that I'm not good enough to be in the team so it's something I really need to pride myself on ... being a good defender and work hard in attack and everything will roll on from there."
Garvey was left out of the Dragons' squad to tackle Parramatta on Monday night in preference to Josh Drinkwater, but was hopeful of being a late inclusion or of featuring in the final round against the Warriors.
"Charly has been there for a while now and he's playing pretty consistent," Garvey said.
"I've got to try to get some consistency in first grade so I can put my hand up to get on the bench and play a couple of more games for the club.
"Going over to Auckland for my first game was a massive step up.
"To come up to grade is a massive jump in class with the players around you."
Runciman was yesterday named in the Holden Cup Team of the Year after starring in 12 games earlier in the year. He was again named at centre for the Dragons' trip to Parramatta Stadium.
"I haven't played 20s for a while, but it's good to get the recognition," Runciman said.
"I guess it was a bit of a bonus ... It just kind of came up this week and I'm just really looking forward to trying to cement my spot in first grade and playing well each week."
Despite their relative inexperience at the top level, both Runciman and Garvey were quick to pan St George Illawarra's limp performance against the struggling Tigers on Saturday.
While they avoided the embarrassment of still being in contention for the spoon after Parramatta's 60-point annihilation at the hands of Melbourne, the Dragons were put through a searching session at WIN Stadium yesterday.
"I'd say they're feeling probably a little bit the same as us after the weekend," Runciman said.
"It was a bit embarrassing [for us] as well."