Wigan’s Tony Clubb has reflected on the evolution of a pre-season in Super League as he prepares for his 15th campaign as a player at the top level.
Clubb started his senior career with London in 2006, before making the switch to the Warriors in 2013.
And the Gravesend-born prop admits preparations during the close-season are a major departure from when he started.
He said: “It wasn’t so technical when I started – you just ran to a pole and back but now you’ve got GPS vests and everything is timed because you’ve got certain targets to hit.
“It is a lot harder and the massive change is ridiculous.
“It has varied and has only got better as it shows where you need to be as an individual and as a team.
“It is just the little things like hand-eye coordination with tennis balls and more wrestling, but running-wise it is still the same and you still go until you drop.”
Clubb says he is relishing being back in camp with his team-mates, a few short months after they were knocked out of the play-offs at the semi-final stage.
“It is always good to be back with the lads.
“As daft as it sounds although you want to be away, you also want to be back here as well.
“Everyone has come back in good shape and worked hard, and that has proved in our tests as we are looking in good nick.
“It will put us in good stead in terms of being fit for Round 1, but it will take a good two or three games before you are battle-hardened.”
He added: “Replicating matches with the Reserves and Under-18s isn’t as full on as it is when you are in an actual game.
“You want to get as fit as you can before Christmas.
“You feel good in the first few weeks because you’re not taking that bashing every week – it is more the middle period of the season when it starts kicking in.”