Kyle svelte: Fitter Cowboy set to fly again in 2018
North Queensland Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt is off to a flying start in 2018, and opponents across the competition will need to be alert, because the acrobatic master has more to come.
Feldt scored three tries in the testimonial match for Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith, and his excellent pre-season form has come down to commitment over the break.
The aim isn't on improving his skills – Feldt has proven he has those in spades – it's to find consistency over the next 26 weeks of the Telstra Premiership and beyond.
"Coming back into this year's pre-season, I really wanted come back in really good shape and get the ball rolling from then," Feldt said.
"I actually trained in the off-season for once, I didn't sit on the couch and do nothing, I got out and did a few runs, and a few boys helped me out there.
"Johnny Asiata and Antonio Winterstein… really made me get off the couch and go train with them."
Feldt also fought off the dreaded holiday weight, keeping his diet in check over the break to make his life easier come the gruelling pre-season in North Queensland.
"I cut out a lot of the takeaway and a fair few chocolates that I like to eat," he said.
Feldt is in prime position to improve his confidence and consistency, according to the Cowboys' high performance manager Paul Bowman.
"Because he was in such good shape at the beginning of the pre-season the quality of training that he was able to complete just went to another level really," Bowman said.
"Instead of possibly being at the back of the pack during our typical conditioning type work he was one of the guys out there leading the way.
"His quality of work was a lot better than previous years and his consistency of effort was a lot better than previous years so because of the conditioning he was in to start the pre-season that consistency at training will definitely transfer into his game."
The all-important question for fans of the high-flying winger is that of a maroon jersey come State of Origin, and while Bowman wasn't eager to build hype, he was confident Feldt had a solid platform from which to make a claim.
"I'm loath to put extra pressure on guys, but I know he's a very talented footballer and I've been so impressed with his last couple of years on the field and also how he's trained the last couple of years off it," he said.
"I think if he can continue to maintain that consistency I think… it's a natural progression and hopefully the next step for him to take that step into representative football."