Dragons centre Zac Lomax has vowed to keep things simple in 2023 after admittedly falling into the trap of trying to make something happen with every touch last season.
The 23-year-old remains a future Origin prospect in the eyes of many, but endured an up and down campaign in 2022.
While he often provided an X factor sorely lacking elsewhere in Anthony Griffin's line-up, Lomax topped the league in errors.
Getting the Temora product firing is essential for the Dragons to force their way back into the top eight, but he's eyeing consistency over the spectacular ahead of his sixth NRL campaign.
"I try and pride myself on just competing all the time and sometimes you can overdo things," Lomax told the Mercury.
"It's probably just trying too hard sometimes and overplaying it. Sometimes you feel like you've got to do something [big] for the team.
"You've just got to strip it back a lot of the time and be patient with the process. If you can put yourself in good positions on the field as many times as you can, the ball will bounce your way.
"It's just [about] not over-thinking things and giving the game the respect it needs. I'm just making sure I'm the best teammate I can be.
"That's what footy's about, being a good teammate and competing the best you can. This year, I'm just trying not to think too much, going out there to play with a smile on my face and let the rest take care of itself."
There hasn't been a whole lot to smile about through a preseason plagued by on and off-field issues, including a Charity Shield pasting that's seen some pundits tip the Dragons to claim the spoon.
The club received some good news on the off-field ffront this week when the NRL lifted Talatau Amone's no-fault stand-down, though questions about club culture linger.
Lomax has been a Dragon long enough to know there's a simple, if not easy, fix.
"The way we get rid of that is just winning more games of footy, it's as simple as that," he said.
"If we were sitting in the top eight every week and we were winning games more comfortably, we wouldn't be having this conversation [about culture].
"Criticism only affects you if you give it energy. It's part and parcel of being a rugby league player and this club's got a lot of rich history.
"It's just about being a full-time professional all the time. That's what I try and pride myself on and we've just got to put it together on a more consistent basis.
"We've just got to start winning games of footy. That's the short of it, we need to win."
Having tasted finals action just five games into his career, Lomax says getting the club back to that arena remains a burning ambition.
"You've got no idea how much it burns me that we haven't had that success," he said.
"You'll hear a lot of former players come in and say 'you don't realise how fast it goes' and it's just so true.
"It can get a bit deflating because we know how much work we put in for the game and behind the scenes.
"Sometimes it feels like you're banging your head against the door and you take one step forward and two steps back. Sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way.
"It's a brutal sport and it's a brutal business but we need more success. We know that, and it starts round-two for us."
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