The perennial class clown joked he might "need to do his top button up" in a senior role at the Dragons but being the best lock in the world is no laughing matter for Trent Merrin.
Ambitious? Absolutely. But Merrin has never been one afraid to say how it is.
"I loved [lock] this year and I just personally want to advance from that and try to be the best lock in the competition and follow players like Paul Gallen and Greg Bird," he said.
"They're the pinnacle of the position at the moment and that's what I want to aspire to be. I think I've just got to keep working hard and tweak the little things I need to."
Tweaking those little things might finally land him the green and gold jumper that he has long coveted.
The victim of a sickening knee injury which ended his season a month early in 2013, the 24-year-old had an eye on a spot in the World Cup Australian squad.
Injury ruined that bid but only served to sharpen his focus on reaching rugby league's highest honour next year.
"That's my main goal ... it's been my main goal since I came into [first] grade," Merrin said.
"You always want to play for your country and be the best player you possibly can be.
"That's the pinnacle of our game; to wear the green and gold. I try to raise the bar every year. Hopefully I can raise it enough to put one of those jerseys on next year," he said.
The Dragons' World Cup contingent will trickle back into pre-season training after the festive season and are likely to find Merrin laughing and joking also but deadly serious as the seven-game Origin player conditions himself to become an 80-minute player.
"I think I need to be. [But] we've lost a few senior players and I'm only getting older. It's time to start doing up the top button and becoming one of those senior players.
"I'm on target at the moment to push out 80 minutes in playing [lock]. I'm trying to do my best to tick the boxes I have to for myself and everyone is [also] doing their job."
■ Meanwhile, the Dragons yesterday announced young back-rower Tyson Frizell will remain at the club until the end of 2017.
The Welsh international and Corrimal junior joined the Dragons for the 2013 season but earned a four-year contract extension.