In his first game with the Bulldogs since the departure of Trent Hodkinson, Josh Reynolds appeared happy with his initial showing in the club's 20-0 win over the Melbourne Storm, reaching a comfort zone he hopes to utilise throughout the upcoming season.
Settling into life alongside Moses Mbye in the halves, Reynolds had to go it alone against Melbourne with his teammate a late withdrawal due to a slight glut injury.
After completing his first full pre-season in three years, Reynolds's freshened outlook heading into the season proper spells danger for opposition teams.
"I felt good out there because I'm feeling a little bit fitter," Reynolds said. "I feel a little bit stronger. Last year coming off surgeries I was worried about just getting back. Where this year I've just worried about my game and it all adds up.
"I'm realising more and more that it's about your preparation so if I get my head around I'll be happy to step up and be the controlling player. When I was younger I used to be the controlling player, believe it or not.
"As years went on I was just playing free-flowing footy. Hopefully I can find that balance this year. Trent's gone now and sometimes if I don't call anything then nothing is called.
"It's just about building for us, it was pretty unfortunate that [Mbye] had to pull out late but at training we have been feeling really good and that's all we can go off at the moment. I felt I was calm out there and I was in that little zone I want to stay in."
On concerns over injured skipper James Graham and a potential suspension to David Klemmer for dangerous contact, Reynolds was hopeful things would turn out for the best.
"It wouldn't be a Doggies game without something going wrong," Reynolds laughed. "Obviously with those two it isn't the best outcome but we have two weeks until we play at Brookie so hopefully things will be okay.
"On the game I thought we were good. The biggest thing for us was keeping them to nil. That was our big focus. We didn't play much of our attack, in attack we were offloading and playing free flowing footy. To keep them scoreless is a big result."