The audition to partner Ashley Taylor in the halves has only been ramped up by the absence of the man himself, says new Gold Coast back Brian Kelly.
Kelly has arrived from Manly engaged in a battle of his own to secure a spot in the centres at the NRL club this year.
But the biggest talking point is who will wear the No.6 jersey, with returning Tyrone Roberts, Penrith recruit Tyrone Peachey and young flyer AJ Brimson among the contenders.
All three were rolling through the halves at training on Thursday while halfback Taylor recovered from a minor shoulder operation that will limit him for at least three weeks.
Taylor, who has shed six kilograms in the off-season, will miss February's Indigenous and Maori All Stars clash, though is due back for the Titans' final trial game against Brisbane on March 2.
The man himself has put Roberts forward as his preferred sidekick this season, but it's clear the competition is hot.
"There's a fair few halves floating around, so I'm fitting in left and right at the moment," Kelly said.
That competition has filtered through the backline, especially given all three are also capable of playing in either or all of the centres, wing and fullback.
Michael Gordon, Dale Copley, Phillip Sami, Anthony Don and Brenko Lee were all consistent faces for the club last season while Mitch Rein was a perfect foil to Nathan Peats off the bench.
But barring injury, some could be squeezed out when the Titans name their side for the season opener.
"With the game-related training you can feel the competition with the backs," Kelly, 22, said of the fight for spots.
"There's a lot there fighting for a position. It keeps us on our toes and performing as best as we can at training."
Just who gets the nod may come down to combinations in defence.
"From day dot, when we came in November, it was the main focus of the season," Kelly said.
Australian Associated Press