Scott Dureau has vowed to regain his first-grade position before the year is out and finish his time with the Newcastle Knights on a positive note.
Dureau will part company with the Knights at the end of the season after Newcastle coach Rick Stone confirmed last week that the embattled halfback was unlikely to be offered a new contract.
The Knights recently signed St George Illawarra under-20s playmaker Beau Henry to a three-year deal and have extended five-eighth Ben Rogers's tenure by two seasons.
Given that Newcastle have Jarrod Mullen and Kurt Gidley under contract for next year, Stone advised Dureau that it would be in his best interests to find a new club.
But the plucky 23-year-old told the Newcastle Herald he would not be satisfied unless he forced his way back into Newcastle's top team before he leaves, a prospect that Stone described as realistic.
"I'd hate to have played my last game for Newcastle already," Dureau said.
"I'd love another chance to get out there and prove to these fans I can still play a little bit, and also to my teammates and family as well.
"I'm just going to keep my head down and give it my all for these next few weeks and hopefully get another game.
"If a chance comes my way I'm going to grab it with both hands and do my best not to let anyone down."
Dureau has played 40 games for Newcastle since making his NRL debut against the Sea Eagles at Bluetongue Stadium in 2007 but has been in and out of the team this year, making nine appearances in four stints.
He was dropped to Newcastle's NSW Cup feeder team, Central Coast Centurions, after Newcastle's 32-24 loss to the Warriors on June 13.
Heading into that game, Dureau said he was "playing for my life" but he was well below his best in a display that suggested a season of constant pressure had taken its toll.
Heading back to the Centurions, Dureau vowed to relax and rediscover his love of the game, and after two strong showings, Stone said the playmaker was pressing for a recall.
The Port Macquarie junior was not selected for Sunday's crucial showdown with the Sharks at EnergyAustralia Stadium but Stone indicated he would come into contention in the coming weeks if five-eighth Rogers did not lift his game.
Asked if Dureau was close to being reinstated, Stone replied, "Absolutely. I've sat down with Scotty and said we expect to use him before the year is out . . . [but] I want to see some fighting qualities in getting that position back."
Stone said it was not easy to tell Dureau last week that "I think it would be wise for you to explore other avenues outside our club".
"He's a top fella, Scotty, and if there's a chance I can help him get a gig somewhere else, I'll do everything I can to help him," Stone said.
Dureau said "it didn't shock me out of my seat" when it was confirmed he would not be required next year.
"For me personally, there wasn't much point me staying here if I'm going to just be playing in the NSW Cup," he said.
"That's not really going to further my career."
Dureau said his options for 2011 and beyond were open.
He has been linked to former Knights assistant coach Trent Robinson, who will take charge of Super League outfit Catalans next year.
"If an NRL deal came up at another club, that'd be good, but if a deal comes up overseas, I'd look at that as well," Dureau said.
He was disappointed that he had not lived up to his own expectations this season and secured a firm grip on Newcastle's No.7 jersey, and a new contract.
"The year didn't start too bad, but then I hurt my hip and lost my spot, and from there it's been a bit up and down," he said.
"My confidence has taken a real battering and you're not enjoying your footy when it's like that.
"It's been my goal the last few weeks to just get back and enjoy something I love doing.
"I know I can play a lot better than I have been.
"It's frustrating and annoying that I haven't put my best foot forward in my last few outings for the club . . . whether you win or lose, the halfback takes the rap for it, and obviously we didn't go too well there earlier in the year."