Brisbane winger Jesse Arthars credits a season with the New Zealand Warriors for helping him get his mojo back.
The 24-year-old will play left wing and mark Warriors cult hero Dallin Watene-Zelezniak on Saturday night in the preliminary final at Suncorp Stadium.
Arthars spent last year on loan to the Warriors and played 12 NRL matches, gametime he may not have had if he'd stayed at Brisbane, where Selwyn Cobbo and Corey Oates were first-choice wingers.
On his return to the Broncos this year, Arthars got the jump on the injured Oates and has retained his spot in the finals on the back of a career-best season.
"It played a pretty big role," Arthars said when asked if the Warriors season had revitalised him.
"Going away for that year helped me out a lot.
"It's come back to the experience. When you play more games you feel more confident and get used to the week-in, week-out grind.
"I've been enjoying it, going with the flow and trying to put my best performance out there for the team this year."
Despite enjoying his year with the Warriors, Arthars said he was "always coming back" to the Broncos. That move paid off handsomely when he was rewarded with a new deal until the end of 2026.
"I had a loan deal in place and I wasn't about to break it. I was pretty keen to come back," he said.
"That opportunity arose from nothing and was one I wanted to take.
"It's a memory I'll cherish forever but I'm happy to be back.
"The Warriors have been going really well and I've been stoked for them.
"I was part of the group last year when they weren't at home. I saw the back-end effect for the boys that had been away from their families for so long."
As for playing against the Warriors in a do or die clash, Arthars said "it would be pretty cool".
"It's always fun going up against a team you used to play for," he said.
Arthars said the recruitment of premiership winners Adam Reynolds and Kurt Capwell had been key to a young Broncos side's resurgence. He went through the wooden spoon year of 2020 but that feels like a distant memory.
"There's been a core group of boys working away hard and they're playing for each other. Everyone is ripping in and doing their job," he said.
"It wasn't the best in 2020. We had Covid and came last.
"There's a few boys here still holding on to that and it's been a big driving factor and motivation for us heading into this season."