Having fought so hard to earn an NRL No.9 jersey, Gold Coast's Aaron Booth is determined to cling onto it.
Booth joined the Titans ahead of the 2022 season having spent time at South Sydney and Melbourne, as well as stints in the NSW and Queensland Cup competitions.
After failing to make the grade at the Rabbitohs, Booth made six appearances at the Storm across two seasons but was well down a pecking order that included Harry Grant and Brandon Smith in the hooker stocks.
Given his chance to make his Titans debut in the Queensland derby against Brisbane a fortnight ago, Booth will suit up for his third-straight game for the club when they meet Canberra on Sunday at CBUS Super Stadium.
Handing the keys to an inexperienced spine in 2022 has turned into a car wreck for the Titans, with the club second-last on the ladder and in a battle with Wests Tigers to avoid the wooden spoon.
While the club has already flagged its intentions to add some experience in 2023 with the recruitment of New Zealand international Kieran Foran, many still believe the Titans should target an old head at hooker as well to turn around their fortunes.
Booth, however, insists he's not just keeping the seat warm for a new face to come in next year.
"My headspace isn't that I'm filling a role," Booth said.
"It's definitely that that's my role now and I definitely want to take that into the next five weeks, six weeks and then definitely into next year obviously.
"I definitely feel like I can contribute to the team and help turn around what's been a disappointing year, finish the year strong and then definitely going into next year I'd like to make that spot my own."
A Gold Coast junior, not only has Booth had to get himself into the NRL the hard way he also had to overcome an ACL that wrecked his entire 2018 campaign.
The 25-year-old says his lack of first-grade appearances doesn't mean he's a greenhorn on the footy field.
"I'm a little bit older than the other boys," he said.
"I've taken a different route to be playing here, but I've played a lot of footy in my time so I consider myself fairly experienced."