Eels prop Junior Paulo is cutting a lean figure after an off-season that featured a lot of training and very little down-time thanks to the delayed Origin series and a boxing bout.
Paulo was in action for NSW in all three games, the last of which was on November 18, before mixing a gruelling seven-week boxing lead-up with Eels training before his impressive knockout win over former Maroons forward Neville Costigan on February 12.
There was no rest from there as he threw himself into the rest of the Eels' off-season and ran out in the trial loss to the Panthers on February 27.
"It was probably a more active off-season than usual but it was definitely helpful to how I returned to pre-season," Paulo told NRL.com.
"That was always the goal. When I was asked to take up the fight I knew I was going to be active and fit throughout that break and I returned back to the Eels in pretty good shape.
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"Just with how our pre-season's been building with the whole new rule changes we're certainly going to be able to adapt and cutting a couple of kilos won't do me any harm.
"Now that I've done that all the talk will be around our footy and I'll be able to 100% focus mentally on footy. It was definitely a good training regime but now for us the goal is to be playing footy in October."
While the new, even faster rules being brought in this year weren't a factor in Paulo's active off-season, he hopes himself and the club will be well-placed to handle them.
"In that last trial against Penrith we actually had the ball in play longer than any period of game over the last year," he said.
"We got a fair hit-out and a really good indication of where we're at as a squad too.
"There was a moment there were the lungs were definitely hanging on but that's just the way footy's going to be played.
"Over the next couple of rounds we'll be able to see how teams will be working around the new rules and seeing how they can bend them a bit but we just need to be able to take the field in good shape.
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"We've got the team to be suitable to the new rules but none of that means anything unless we're performing.
"At lot of people think last year we peaked too early but with how we've trained this pre-season, I think we've been training a lot smarter than what we have."