After paying the price for taking his New Zealand jersey for granted, Kevin Proctor has vowed not to make the same mistake at Gold Coast Titans after the NRL club injected much needed depth for 2019.
Proctor finally received closure on a scandal that cost him a 2017 Rugby League World Cup spot when he was welcomed back into the Kiwi fold for their end-of-year Tests, ending an 18 month exile.
Besides the Cup snub, the veteran backrower was also stripped of the Titans co-captaincy and copped a four match ban after he and Jesse Bromwich were caught using cocaine following the 2017 trans-Tasman Test.
But all was forgiven for Proctor when he helped New Zealand topple Australia in Auckland last October after receiving a lifeline from new Kiwi coach Michael Maguire.
Proctor also savoured New Zealand's 2-1 series loss to England in the UK that followed the win over the Kangaroos after admitting he had taken the Kiwi jersey for granted.
"That was awesome to be back in that side. You don't know what you have got until you have lost it," Proctor said.
"I took it for granted a bit. To beat Australia over in New Zealand, it was a big moment for me and my family.
"The New Zealand tour was probably the most enjoyable one I have been on.
"Madge (Maguire) did a great job with the direction he has taken the Kiwi jersey."
Proctor said his Kiwi success had inspired him to find another gear for Gold Coast in 2019.
And it seems he will need it.
Proctor admitted he would be kept honest in his bid to retain his starting back-row spot in a Titans squad not short of new faces.
Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan warned this week that there were "no walk up starts" this year after welcoming the likes of ex-Test prop Shannon Boyd, NSW utility Tyrone Peachey and former Melbourne playmaker Ryley Jacks.
"I will have to train hard to keep my spot," Proctor said.
"When you see the young guys trying to steal your spot, you just try and flog them at the next training session."
Proctor believed the arrival of the giant Boyd from Canberra had finally given the Titans pack some fear factor.
"He brings size to our pack that we have lacked the last couple of years," he said.
Australian Associated Press