Newcastle Knights Jeremy Smith and Kade Snowden returned to pre-season training this week following a three-month suspension.
“It’s good to be back around the boys, back in the environment and get a bit of routine back in my life,” Smith told the media on Tuesday.
“It was probably a blessing in disguise.
“I had a bit of a sore knee most of the year last year, so just having a break and staying off my legs was probably a blessing."
Smith and Snowden were among a number of NRL players to receive bans after an incident at the Cronulla Sharks in 2011.
“I think no one was comfortable with what happened," Smith said.
"All in all for me I was pretty happy with the outcome; I got to freshen up and spend time at home with the family.
"I’m looking to move on now.
"It’s good to be back and good to be over and done with and moving on to a good season for the Knights."
Tuesday’s hill and beach pre-season session was the 34-year-old’s second day back after easing in with a weights and a wrestle session on Monday.
“The boys ran the hills, I didn’t run the hills, I was on the flats trying to get some more kilometres in my legs to try catch up to the boys,” Smith added.
Smith didn’t let his time off the training paddock go to waste explaining he was committed to maintaining his fitness while he was away.
“I did a little bit. The way the game is nowadays you can’t just sit back and let yourself go,” he said.
“I took it upon myself to do a little bit here and there.
“You know what it takes to come back and the preparation for a pre-season, and they are usually tough, so to come back out of shape would only be hindering my progress."
Meanwhile, Snowden was equally enthusiastic to return to the squad and believes the forced time to rest has allowed him to start the pre-season fresh.
“My body has had a good rest, but it probably wasn’t the best day to come back,” Snowden joked about the hill session.
“I got through it, and I’m excited to be back.
“I think the extra time has done me really good."
In the break Snowden enjoyed time with his family and the added respite after also nursing injuries throughout the season.
“I’ve come back in a lot better shape than I usually am," he said.
"My injuries are a lot better and I’m really looking forward to a good off season getting ready for next year."