Ryan James says he is on track to play for the Indigenous All Stars next month after he walked off the Titans training field on Thursday to be told he was the fastest prop of the gruelling session.
It was no small accolade for the 28-year-old after working his way back from the ACL injury he sustained in round six last year.
"It is a good sign coming back from a knee injury knowing that the pace and strength is still there," James told NRL.com after Thursday's field session.
"I did a couple of agility tests today. Having the confidence to be able to do it is one thing and not even thinking about it is another thing, and that is the stage I am at.
"I have gone past even thinking about the knee and I am just training. I feel back to normal and the knee is one hundred per cent."
Peats: All Stars is back where it belongs
James is a proud Bundjalung man from the Northern Rivers of NSW and has been selected to play in his sixth All Stars clash.
A few weeks ago it looked touch and go whether he would be right to play but now he is confident of taking his place in the Laurie Daley-coached side against the Maori All Stars.
"I haven't played since round six last year and there is no bigger game to come into than the All Stars game," James said.
"It is so important for me to represent my people, my family and my region.
Team announcement: Indigenous All Stars v Maori
"It is probably the best game to come back into as well with four quarters and unlimited interchange, and a great way to get yourself ready for the week-in and week-out grind.
"There are three weeks to go before the game so until then I'll make sure everything is done to the full just to prepare my body for it.
"That is a hard game to go straight into as well, up against some of those big boys, but these next few weeks is going to be a good challenge to get ready for the repeat contact and efforts."
Titans coach Justin Holbrook told NRL.com that he views James as essentially a middle forward who can play on the edge if required.
With Leilani Latu now at Warrington after being released by the club and edge back-rower Beau Fermor joining the Titans from Newcastle on a three-year deal it means James is more likely to be utilised in his favourite spot.
"I spoke to Justin earlier in the year and I said to him that I see myself as a middle and if circumstances arise in a game where I have to push out to an edge I am comfortable to do so," James said.
"We have enough edge players and guys that can play anywhere on the field like Peach [Tyrone Peachey] so I see myself as a middle and hopefully I can stay there."
James has played 144 NRL games for the Titans and believes the 10-month break from playing can have a silver lining.
"I definitely reckon the year off has helped the shoulders, neck and hips. It has made the body feel pretty fresh," James said.
Get your tickets to see the best of the NRL’s Indigenous and Mãori players going head to head at Cbus Super Stadium on February 22