Jack Wighton says the arrival of a tough "little bastard" from England will allow the NRL's second best defensive unit to climb the final rung in search of redemption.
The Canberra Raiders five-eighth has already felt the impact of new halfback George Williams on the training track - laughing it only took him a few days to "cut me in half".
Raiders captain Jarrod Croker has already lauded Williams' mettle in defence in a huge boost to the club's bid to avenge grand final heartbreak.
Canberra's newfound resolve saw them emerge as the NRL's second best defensive team last year, behind the Melbourne Storm.
Wighton's move into the front-line played a key role in the Raiders' rebirth as a defensive powerhouse and now he hopes Williams can help take them one step further.
"He cut me in half the other day the little bastard," Wighton said.
"He's good. That's it mate, it's one half of the game, defence, so it's always good to know you can rely on him in that aspect.
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"We're still doing a bit of defence, but more so getting our set plays. We had nine weeks before Christmas last year to work out how to catch and pass a ball before getting our plays going.
"This year we jumped straight into it and we've got to focus on where we want to get to on the field and how we want to play again with Georgey coming over, and me and him pairing up.
"He's doing his job well. He's beginning to take a bit more ownership here and there which we've sorted out well.
"We've only just started, we've basically just had our first week down together so we've got a lot of building and a lot of working out to do.
"The intensity of training definitely hasn't dropped. We've been getting flogged and we know we have got to jam a lot more in a bit quicker because we started later."
Wighton is edging closer to re-signing with the Raiders beyond the 2020 season in a huge boost to the club's aspirations of being a long-term title contender.
It is a welcome sign for coach Ricky Stuart after he saw Wighton earn state and national honours in a year highlighted by his man of the match performance in the grand final.
Twenty-six-year-old Wighton is confident the contract negotiations will not hamper his bid to build on the finest year of his career.
"The contract stuff is not even a worry," Wighton said.
"I've got a good manager in Matty Rose, he's been doing his thing there and that allows me to train and play my best footy when it comes around.
"I dare say I'll have something started before the year starts.
"I just want to focus on round one, get through that, get consistently going.
"Not looking too far ahead is going to be my trick, just playing and enjoying the game. That's what I'm looking forward to doing."