Luke's 'tools' to remain focused
With his days in the cardinal and myrtle of South Sydney numbered, Warriors-bound hooker Issac Luke admitted he is finding it difficult to remain focused on the Rabbitohs' campaign – yet is hoping to use lessons learnt from media training to stick solid both on and off the field.
Speaking on Monday, when every current member of the South Sydney team was available to the media, very few players had bigger lines of journalists waiting for a chat than Luke – something he prepared himself for beforehand.
Drawing from his training, as simple as ticking boxes in his head to make sure he means what he says, Luke hopes to utilise such techniques to remain focused on the field for the remainder of the season.
Adding he has had to become a leader and "vocal" at the club over time, the extracurricular practice is paying dividends for the 28-year-old – who added he'd never think before he spoke prior to his media training last year.
"I'm not a fan of all the cameras but it is all part of a process so I've had to learn when to speak at key moments. [My media training] was all about being vocal, like previously my mind would always have the right thing to say but when it came out it was always not how I intended it to be," Luke told NRL.com.
"I've had to prepare myself coming out here [for Monday's interviews] and how I was going to handle questions about next year, and really how I was going to deliver the messages that I wanted to.
"When I'm with my mates, and you'd know too, everything is fine like you tell your mates everything. But I just have to make sure I'm saying the right things professionally too."
This is where football comes to the forefront. Despite his wavering focus and difficulties containing it, Luke said he isn't ready to let go of South Sydney just yet.
"I'll be honest, it is hard to focus. In saying I've been given all the right tools and I have a lot of great men behind me and beside me here who are pointing me in the right direction," Luke said.
"[Coach Michael Maguire] is the man behind me realising such things too. He's helped shape me to focus on what's at hand.
"So I'll think about returning to New Zealand when the time comes but all I'm worried about is Newcastle this weekend and obviously getting back out there, having missed last week to suspension, so all of my focus is on Saturday night."
Speaking of Newcastle, Luke said the Rabbitohs hope to use the Knights as another stepping stone towards building on their finals hopes after beating the Dragons at the SCG last Saturday.
"The boys really stepped up, we played awesome and all the boys and the leaders really played great," he said.
"They were able to get the win so hopefully it's just another building block for us. We're trying to build consistency at the club so hopefully we can feed off one another and come good in the next few weeks. All that matters is us trying to do our job."