Broncos leader emerges from mud
Shuttle run after shuttle run, Broncos players were pushed to the point of exhaustion on a rain-soaked training field that became more bog-like with each trip up and down the field.
When Jack Reed wasn't encouraging himself to hit his targets – "Come on Reedy!" – he was trying to carry Anthony Milford along with him as with each mark missed another set was added to the torturous tally.
The senior members of the squad were back from their extended break due to their Four Nations commitments but as they were handed an early mark, a new leader emerged.
Striding out in front in almost every run, Matt Gillett continually talked to those around him, encouraging them to dig that little bit deeper so they wouldn't have to go through it all over again just seconds later.
On the comeback trail from a shoulder reconstruction, the now 26-year-old looked as though he could have handled a double dose of whatever punishment was being dished out having come back from the Christmas break a couple of kilograms lighter than his preferred playing weight of 101kg.
But more than the miles in his legs it was the words from his mouth that gave the greatest indication Gillett is now ready to accept a more senior role in the squad to assist the next generation to make their transition into the top grade.
"You look around now and it doesn't seem all that long ago that I was in the same position as the guys that are coming through now," Gillett told NRL.com after he and the squad had been hosed down after their session.
"It's always good just to help the boys out and you feel a lot better coming to training when you know you're going to be welcomed and there will be people there encouraging you and helping you out. It makes it a lot better environment so I'm just trying to do that.
"I can remember when I first came and did all the fitness and stuff and I was over on my haunches dying and it's always better when you've got someone there encouraging you to have good body language and just talking you through the session. That's the main thing that I try to work on.
"PJ Marsh was back there when I first came so he was a big one. He was as fit as they come and never looked tired so he was probably one of the fellas going back a bit [who set an example]."
It's an acceptance of responsibility that Gillett has also embraced away from the Broncos following the birth of his daughter, Harper Rose, late in the 2014 season.
Born on August 12 – the same day as her father – the nappy-changing of Harper was left to Gillett's partner Skye in the early months as anyone who has ever had their arm in a sling knows, it's a job that can't be attempted one-handed.
Gillett and the handful of Broncos who underwent shoulder reconstructions won't be seen until the World Club Series in England in late February and the nine-time Origin representative said he is desperate to make up for his limited input in their finals exit.
"Halfway through the season I initially did it and just recovered after that and it come pretty good," he explained of the initial injury to his left shoulder. "I got away with it in games and was feeling pretty good but when we played Melbourne in the last round I just did it again and it was pretty bad from there.
"It wasn't working too good and obviously our first finals match I couldn't really do much out there so I was pretty disappointed but it's all in the past now and just looking forward to the season coming.
"We've been told by our medical staff and the coaching staff that our goal is to make that last trial so just work hard and by that time we'll all be 100 per cent and ready to go."