Nick Frisby is starting to believe in himself.
After four years as a utility and back-up scrum half to the incumbent Wallabies nine Will Genia, Frisby is finally carving out his own mark.
The new era of the Reds was marked with the departure of Genia and Quade Cooper, however realistic their now rumoured returns might be, and it has been Frisby charged with stepping up.
It’s a new challenge for the 23-year-old, who served a long apprenticeship off the pine, filling roles across the back line, especially in the Reds’ injury-ravaged 2015 season.
For the first time in his Super Rugby career, Frisby is a walk-up start in his preferred position and that is paying rich dividends, as he delivers some of his career-best form.
The doubt that Frisby admitted had crept into his own mind is slowly being diminished, a trend that will only be catalysed by his inclusion in the Wallabies conversation.
“Having waited so long for an opportunity there is always a bit of doubt about yourself,” he said.
“I sat on the bench for four years so it is good to finally start stringing some games together and get some confidence in the ability and keep playing.”
One of a number of Queensland players in the recent national camp, Frisby said he was beginning to feel a sense of belonging in his Super Rugby setting.
“Cheik (Wallabies coach Michael Cheika) speaks a lot about mental belief,” he said.
“It’s good for me to be put in that set up and start thinking about my own mental belief and feeling like I belong in the Reds set up and then one day hopefully if I get the opportunity and get a gig for the Wallabies."
Frisby and his halves partner Jake McIntyre are building something new and the scrumhalf says it truly does feel like they’ve hit the reset button.
“It is very much like a fresh start and we’ve done a lot of work to ensure that we get the best out of each other and hopefully we keep making the most of the opportunities,” he said .
Frisby might have a greater understanding than most of his partner’s expectations, having been thrown into the main playmaking position last year in an injury-ravaged Reds side.
There’s no doubt it was unfamiliar to him but in the long run, he says it has helped his insight into the game.
“I think obviously I can sympathise with him because I’ve got an understanding of what he does now and I’ve got a better understanding of what a 10 expects from a halfback as well,” he said.
One of the matches in which he was handed the playmaking torch was against the Bulls at Loftus Stadium, a venue at which the Reds will arrive on Sunday morning (AEST) with their first 2016 win behind them.
While co-coach Matt O’Connor suggested his team wasn’t ready to win until its game against the Highlanders, Frisby said it felt like they simply didn’t know how.
“I don’t know if it we were not ready to win or we just didn’t know how to win,” he said.
“No doubt that winning is a skill but it’s an experience as well.
“We’ll have learned from all those games, we had three games in a row and three tight losses.
“We learned from that and to come out on top in another tight game is massive for the group and it will do wonders for us going forward.”