Senior heads leading the way at Souths
While the rest of us are worrying about Christmas presents, New Year's plans and summer getaways, NRL players are being tortured during gruelling pre-season sessions in oppressive conditions.
From Auckland to Townsville and everywhere in between, the 16 clubs that comprise the Telstra Premiership are having their mental and physical limits tested by coaches who don't care if they’ve been naughty or nice.
The hard slog has certainly been felt at the South Sydney Rabbitohs, with the club welcoming David Furner (assistant coach) and Paul Devlin (head of high performance) to the coaching ranks.
Rabbitohs back-rower Kyle Turner told NRL.com that while the drills had been challenging, the biggest pre-season obstacle was overcoming the heat.
"It's been tough so far, but it's been good," Turner said.
"The new coaching staff has come along and they've really set the standard. It's exciting to be a part of.
"They've got a few drills up their sleeves that really test us out, but the thing that gets me the most is the heat. It's always changing and it's getting the best of me some days."
The Rabbitohs have had a slightly disrupted pre-season with skipper Greg Inglis away on Kangaroos duties for the past month, while the English trio of Sam, Tom and George Burgess were also in the UK for the Four Nations.
With so much experience missing for the start of the pre-season, Turner said former South Sydney captain John Sutton – as well as former NYC skipper Jason Clark – had steered the ship in their stead.
"John Sutton and Jason Clark and some of the older boys have taken it upon themselves to step up [into leadership roles]," Turner said.
"But it's not just them. I think all the boys have taken it upon themselves to get better. We're not just one voice; we're a whole team now. It's not up to one person to lead the way and everyone is happy to contribute."
One of the club's newest recruits, Robbie Farah, has seamlessly slotted into his fresh surroundings, and according to Turner, has played a key role at training.
"He's training the house down and he's fitting really well into the group," Turner said.
"He's a good presence to have around the club and his experience is second to none. The more we can learn from him the better we'll be.
"He's shown his game-smarts and his leadership on the field and he's teaching us boys new things that we didn't know.
"He's not someone who will tell you to do something that he won't do. If he's telling you to do something then it's for a good cause and he's going to back it up and do the same for you. He's a team player and doesn’t want to let his mates down so we're not going to let him down."
Farah won't have to wait long to take on his former club with the Rabbitohs drawn to kick off their campaign with a Round 1 showdown against the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium on the first Friday night of the season.
And while it might be a talking point in the media, Turner said it hadn't been broached at Redfern.
"I don't think he's mentioned it much to be honest," the 24-year-old said.
"We're just trying to get through each day at the moment of pre-season. I think he's just looking forward to the opportunity of getting out there again."
Farah's presence could be the thing the Bunnies need to bounce back after a disappointing 2016 campaign that saw them finish in 12th place.
A nine-game losing streak in the middle of the season effectively ended their season with five weeks remaining, but instead of throwing in the towel, the Rabbitohs dug in and finished the year with four wins on the trot.
According to Turner, it's that month-long resolve that has them in good shape heading into 2017.
"It'll be massive for us," he said when asked about the winning streak.
"We really showed what we could do in those last four games, but we just didn't put ourselves into position to show it for the backend of the season.
"We've got to start well because it's such a tough competition, build on that during the year and then finish off strong."