Things are looking up for the Grafton Redmen in their 2018 Mid North Coast premiership campaign.
Craig Howe, who has taken over the reins as first grade coach from club legend Ray Collie next season, has wasted no time settling into his new role.
Players have already began honing their skills and elevating their strength and stamina in preparation for next season.
"It is an early start to training but what we are trying to achieve is give the players a pre-season workout they can do themselves,” Howe said during the week.
"It is a hard time of the year with cricket training but there was a core of guys who wanted to do some extra fitness and skill work each week.
"Lately we have been working with our scrum halves, five-eighths and fullbacks on their passing and kicking skills and up-skilling players in certain positions.
"The Big River Gym has also come on board and offered the Redmen players a really good discounted rate for a season membership which is fantastic.”
Like most sports the "silly season” rears its head this time of year with rumours of code swapping and potential big-name signings.
Asked if the Redmen have any new recruits on the horizon, Howe kept his cards close to his chest.
"We've had one or two new guys who have turned up for training already,” he said.
"As the year progresses we'll no more come January. One is a definite game-breaker which will certainly help us fill a gap and hopefully take us a little bit further in the competition next season.
"We also have a Kiwi guy who turned up to training and he looks the goods.”
Howe added full training would resume in the third week in January on Tuesday and Thursday nights at Rugby Park South Grafton.