Next February, Aidan Guerra will be blowing out 32 candles on his birthday cake, but that hasn’t sparked any thoughts of hanging up the boots just yet.
Having represented Queensland on 10 occasions in State of Origin and gathered a NRL Telstra Premiership to his name, Guerra is still determined to find success with the nib Newcastle Knights and is excited by the progress of the squad during pre-season.
While the first day of camp in Tamworth has been a hot and gruelling experience, the love of the challenge is driving the forward.
“It’s one of those things that when you know, you know, and I haven’t woken up thinking ‘I don’t want to be there’ just yet,” Guerra said.
“I love being around the players and I love pushing myself and pushing the people around me. I just can’t wait to get to the games.
“The good thing about coming to this is we get together as a group, talk about the season ahead and how we want to play and get a bit of hard work done while we’re here.”
The arrival of new coach Adam O’Brien has certainly kicked things in training up a gear.
Having spent time at both the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm, Guerra admitted to noticing elements of former mentors in his new coach, however, O’Brien’s also brought some new components to the fold making for “exciting times.”
“He’s come under some pretty good mentors with Craig Bellamy and Trent Robinson and I’ve been fortunate to be coached by both of them and you can see influences from both guys there, but he also brings his own style as well,” he said.
“He’s trying to incorporate some new theories and as a side we just have to buy into it…the way we’re training is hopefully setting us up for a different style of football with up-tempo pace.
“We have a squad that has the potential to play really well and if we can gel together and really buy into this brand of footy that Adam has brought, it should be good.”
The week-long camp in Tamworth not only provides not only a chance for the players to form greater connections with one another, but also with the broad Knights community that’s been stricken by the drought.
Guerra acknowledged how important it was for the club and players to keep familiar with the town that has such a strong NRL supporter base.
“I didn’t grow up in the area, but I’ve been at Newcastle for three years and I feel like this is part of our grassroots,” he said.
“We played a game at Tamworth a few years ago and you could just see the support that we had as a club up here.
“We’ve got to keep our footprint here because we’re a proud club, and this is a proud town and we want to be a part of it.”