Brad Weber has ruled himself out of the Chiefs' Brisbane Tens title defence this weekend as he chases the All Blacks' vacant halfback spot.
Chiefs Brad Weber celebrates James Lowe's try against the Crusaders
Weber broke his leg in last year's 12-7 final win against the Crusaders, causing him to miss all of the 2017 Super Rugby campaign.
He wasn't prepared to risk that happening again.
"I did think about facing my demons but, at the end of the day, I've got bigger fish to fry this season and 15-a-side is my priority," Weber said.
The departure of Tawera Kerr-Barlow to France - and Augustine Pulu to the Blues last year - has opened the door for 27-year-old Weber to make the Chiefs' No. 9 jumper his own, but he's taking nothing for granted.
The one-Test All Black will compete with Jonathan Taumateine and new recruit Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi for the Waikato-based side's starting spot.
"For four or five years I was competing with a fellow All Black and I really enjoyed that Tawera and Augustine would bring the best out of me," Weber said.
"Now I've got two younger players nipping at my heels doing exactly that."
The Hawke's Bay ace also doesn't expect to be named captain ahead of Sam Cane, despite having a crack at the role against the Blues last week.
He backed the Chiefs to have a good season despite the exodus overseas of a number of key players, such as Kerr-Barlow and Aaron Cruden.
"I'm pretty happy with the forward pack I've got in front of me, it's certainly going to give myself and Damian McKenzie plenty of room to move," Weber said.
"We might lack a bit of experience out wide but there's still plenty of flair."