Parramatta centre Brad Takairangi has sent a timely reminder to Brad Arthur of his credentials with competition for backline spots set to heat up ahead of the side's finals charge.
Takairangi scored the first treble of his NRL career as the Eels secured their ninth victory of the season to leapfrog Newcastle into sixth spot on the ladder.
With new recruit Waqa Blake and injured centre Michael Jennings due back next month, Takairangi and veteran Josh Hoffman have at least another two games to prove their worth.
For Takairangi, who had a stint in reserve grade earlier in the year, the timing couldn't have been anymore perfect to show his worth alongside Blake Ferguson.
"I back myself and know I have the ability to play at this level," Takairangi told NRL.com.
"I had a few things to go back and work on which was between myself and Brad.
"We've got Waqa and Jenko out injured and we want nothing more than to create selection headaches for Brad. It's only healthy for the team. We've got four quality centres and I'm happy to play anywhere in the team.
"Waqa has been great, we haven't seen him too much in rehab but blokes like him, Mitchell Moses, Dylan Brown, they're the future of this club."
Takairangi notches his hat-trick as Eels wrestle back dominance
Takairangi wants to be part of the long-term planning too but is off-contact at season's end and realistic about the situation.
"I'm playing for my future and have just got to keep playing good footy," he said.
"I want to get something done soon and not wait much longer but we'll leave that to my manager to work out."
Arthur was honest when asked about Takairangi's heroics and his bounce back in form since a stint with Wentworthville in Canterbury Cup.
"He's a very good player but we need to rely on him to do his job and not go for the big play all the time," Arthur said.
"We've talked about becoming more reliable as a group and having 17 players to rely on to do their job.
"We're not going to win every game, I understand that, but I was pleased with our mentality tonight where we didn't feel like we had to pull the trigger every time.
"I thought it was a pretty good game of football, they threw plenty at us. We planned to play [through the middle] and I thought our forwards played nice and direct."