With a new head coach, some new football department staff, some new players and a revamped gym, North Queensland co-captain Matthew Scott admits he felt like a new kid at school when he turned up at Cowboys HQ on Monday.
For the reigning Cowboy of the Year, it was his first day of official pre-season training following the Rugby League World Cup and plenty has changed.
The on-field training session at 1300SMILES Stadium this afternoon was Scott’s first under new coach Paul Green and first alongside recruits Lachlan Coote, John Asiata and Cameron King as well as NYC graduates Javid Bowen, Zac Santo and Patrick Kaufusi.
David Furner, who was an assistant coach with the Kangaroos in the UK, is now on the Cowboys coaching staff and there’s a new-look high performance unit looking after strength and fitness training.
“There’s definitely a fresh feeling about the place,” Scott said.
“There’s a positive vibe and that’s what you want to feel when you come back into a club.
“You can feel that everyone’s excited.
“It sounds like we’ve got a lot of direction at the moment and everyone knows what their job is.”
Despite his later than normal start to pre-season – some of his teammates started over two months ago – Scott said he doesn’t feel like he's starting the year behind the rest of the squad.
“I feel pretty good actually, although I haven’t done a great deal yet,” he said.
“We’ve been into the heat chamber for a couple of days which was a good little initiation.
“I managed to stay on top of things over the break and I don’t feel like I’m too far off the mark.
“It’s early days yet – just a day and a half in – and I’m just enjoying being back and getting to know the new guys and the couple of new faces in the coaching staff.
“I just want to get through all the goals the strength guys and Bear (Bowman) set us and go from there.”
It’s unlikely any of the Cowboys’ late starters to pre-season will be involved in the first pre-season match of the year against the Brisbane Broncos in Redcliffe on Saturday 8 February, with Scott set to have just the one hit-out – against Gold Coast in Toowoomba – prior to round one.