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While the 2016 season won’t be over until the final whistle is blown at Jubilee Oval on Saturday afternoon, Nathan Ross already has one eye on the 2017 pre-season.

“When you come into pre-season and your last memory is of a hard fought win, it will maybe let you dig into yourself a little more because you know what’s possible if you work hard,” he explained.

“It would change peoples’ attitude to know that your hard work goes towards something.”

That makes the Round 26 clash against the St George Illawarra Dragons even more important.

“At this point in time my focus is to do my bit for the team to get a win this weekend,” Ross said.

Although heading into next year, the utility back is eager to shake things up.

“Hopefully in the pre-season I get a crack in the centres or at fullback,” he said.

“I enjoy playing wing and I enjoy playing first grade, but I think I’ve got a lot to offer the closer I am to the ball.

“I’d say I’m pretty close to it (being a regular first grader), and now that I’ve signed for two more years with Newcastle I have some more ambitious goals.”

At the top of that list is making it to 50 NRL games, and with Ross currently sitting on 24 matches, that goal could be not too far away.

“I know it’s going to take a lot of sacrifice and dedication to get there, but 50 games is my next milestone,” he said.