When Max Altus peers through the coronavirus pall, the goal comes into clear focus.
With the second year of his three-year North Sydney Bears contract a write-off because of the pandemic, the distinguished Farrer alumnus is hopeful of joining the Sydney Roosters in the preseason, ahead of the 2021 season.
The 19-year-old former Coonamble farm boy wants to be catapulted into the biggest year of his young life, as he attempts to keep his NRL dream alive.
The third year of his contract gives the Roosters the option to utilise him. The speedy rake said: "I'm hoping to do the preseason with the Roosters. That's the plan. So hopefully that all goes ahead.
"I wouldn't make it into the playing side each week, I wouldn't think, because there's still plenty of hookers there. But then I'd just drop to Norths and play for them. That's the plan, anyway. You want to be playing consistent Canterbury Cup."
Earlier this year, the 2018 Australian Schoolboy had been excited about what would have been his second season of Jersey Flegg action for the Bears. He started at hooker in a 24-0 round one loss to Penrith, and then the competition was cancelled because of Covid-19.
"I was sort of hoping to have a full season this season and a good season," he said. "I came off the back of a good preseason. So I was keen to rip in this year, but that's all been put to a stop."
Altus said North Sydney's Jersey Flegg side may play in the Central Coast first-grade comp if it resumed this season. "But that's a big question mark as well: no one knows anything yet."
Altus has settled well into Sydney life. He is in the second year of a heavy-vehicle apprenticeship, and has been maintaining his fitness as best he can.
The "frustration" of having spent months "busting" his backside in preparation for a one-round season has given way to the acceptance he may not play footy again this year.
He's enjoyed the extra spare time not playing has afforded him, including working on his golf game.