A strong performance for City last year launched Andrew Fifita’s representative career and the Cronulla prop hopes this year's match will rejuvenate his club form, having replicated a similar showing on Sunday.
Fifita said he was happy and his mind was at ease after settling his future until the end of 2018 with the Sharks, following Canterbury withdrawing their richer contract deal. Dumped from the Kangaroos squad following an indifferent start to the year, Fifita showed glimpses of his best with a strong outing for City.
"I’ve got nothing to worry about now," Fifita said. "Nothing is on my mind, so I come out here and tried to have a big game. I thought I did well.
"Everything has been put behind me. I just want to play some happy footy.
"I improved massively [on Sunday] compared to the form I’ve been in. Hopefully this is just the start, like it was last year.
"I’m going to take a big confidence booster out of this game. Last year, I was out of the scene up until this date and I kind of ballooned from there. Hopefully I can do the same this year."
Fifita said prolonged contract negotiations had hampered his form. While he was part of the Kangaroos World Cup-winning squad last year, he was axed for Australia’s one-off Test on Friday night. He said he watched Australia's win against the Kiwis.
"It was a good wake up call," he said. “The selectors didn't chose me and they've gone on form. My form needs to improve. I need to get back up there and improve my football.
"It was tough watching it [because] I was just with the boys ... in the back of my mind I knew Australia would come through."
Fifita made 173 metres on Sunday, second only to teammate Dylan Walker. He also finished with 31 tackles. The performance is expected to be enough for Fifita to reclaim his NSW spot having featured in all three games last year.
Fifita helped set up City’s first try with some good footwork, followed by a classy around-the-corner pass. He also scored a try of his own.
The match started unhappily, though: Fifita spilled the ball as he tried to play it in the first tackle of the game.
"That one hit at the start probably woke me up," Fifita said. "I can’t wait to play some good footy and play in Origin.
"I’ve got to focus on my own team. My own priority is getting my team to the eight."
Fifita's club side plays Parramatta on Monday, with back-rower Luke Lewis expected to be named in the squad on Tuesday to play his first game of the season. He had a shoulder reconstruction following an injury he got while scoring a try for Australia at last year’s World Cup.