While nib Newcastle Knight Nathan Ross has improved beyond sight as a player in the last three years, this pre-season he is determined as ever to push himself to the next level.
Ahead of 2018, his focus is fitness.
“Even though I am getting a little bit older, fitness is something I really wanted to challenge with Tony Ayoub (Physical Performance Manager) and Luke Portese (Strength and Conditioning Manager) at the end of the season,” Ross told Knights TV.
“I want to work out ways I can get it to another level and cardio was another thing where I thought I was quite good but in comparison to the elite players in the game, there was a huge step to make.
“When your body gets put into a position of fatigue, you’ve got to be quite mentally strong to push forward so it is an area where I really want to improve on.”
I want to work out ways I can get it to another levelNathan Ross
This year's inclusion of yoga in the pre-season routine has only aided Ross' efforts.
“It's helping the body's recovery... especially with the increase of loads closer to Christmas,” Ross revealed.
“We're really focus on stretching and getting rid of some niggles, and I’m finding it quite effective.”
Starting as a winger in 2017, Ross moved to fullback at the back end of the season and while he loves playing in the custodian role, feels his position is probably out wide next year.
“I think we’ve got too many good fullbacks at the Club to see me there,” he said.
“Kalyn Ponga is doing some great things, young Nick Meaney will be a star of the future, Dylan Phythian is still going to come back from a knee injury and Matt Cooper is doing some good things there.
“I played centre last year in the City v Country game and I'm comfortable there as I am on the wing as well... but I feel for the balance of our team, I’ll try and find a home on the left wing.
“It's up to me to put my best foot forward because nothing is going to be given.
“Ken Sio, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Brayden Musgrove and Brent Naden can fill the spots... so if I’m not on my game I’ll lose my position.
“I have to train hard and trial well to make sure I’m there for Round 1.”
The 29-year-old has also been impressed with the Knights new roster for 2018.
“It's fantastic,” he smiled.
“With the overhaul, I think we're starting to get a good balance and there should be brighter days ahead, but it’s not going to come without hard work.
“Everyone has come to the Club to show they are still at the top of their game and you’ve got a group of men with the same core values, with the same desire to exceed and win.”
Meanwhile, with the Club’s Member numbers growing substantially before Christmas, Ross thanked existing and new Members for their continued support.
“All the fans that have stuck by us in the hard times… thank you so much, we really appreciate it,” Ross added.
“It's something Newcastle has that no other Club has… we have the best fans in the competition and I don’t think any other supporter base would stick through what we have been through and now it’s time to reap all the rewards of all the hard work and start to give back.”