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Hoeata (29) enters his third season as a Highlander looking to do what he does best, and to avoid paralysis by analysis.
''I have gone back and made myself simple goals which was what I did when I first came down here,'' he said.
''My main goal is to make the starting line-up for the Highlanders. I know if I make the starting line-up, play well, then those other things will take care of themselves.
''That is what I did the first year. Last year, barring the injury, I set myself a whole lot of goals. It got too complicated. For me, it works best when I just set simple goals and work towards them.''
Hoeata made the All Blacks in 2011 but did not make the World Cup squad. A nasty chest injury meant he did not start for the Highlanders until mid-season last year and never really hit his best form.
But that is in the past, and the focus is the future. The signing of key All Black players can only do good things for the Highlanders.
''We've just got to get rid of that battler tag of going out and giving our guts. In some games that was enough and in other games we were not quite good enough.
''This time, if we do that and play well we should win most games. The roster is a bit better now and when we are playing well we should beat teams now.''
Hoeata had a break after last season, holidaying on the Gold Coast, before coming into camp before Christmas.
He said all the new faces had fitted in well. Their experience was coming through but they were not overbearing.
''I wondered what it was going to all come together like. But it has all been pretty seamless. They [new players] have been awesome. They add their bits and pieces here and there. It was good for the team. There is a core group here. These other guys brought in are some pretty heavy hitters.''
Hoeata, who has been named vice-captain tonight, will play at lock against the Chiefs but is also seen as a blindside flanker. To him, the number on the back is exactly that - just a number.