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A philosophical Antonio Winterstein says he’s in good shape and ready to tackle his eighth season as a North Queensland Toyota Cowboy.

Following a challenging 2017 National Rugby League season where he battled injuries on several fronts – including an early-season broken arm – the 29-year-old winger says an extended break was just the tonic to refresh the body and mind.

“The break was great, but at the same time it’s fantastic to be back out here with the boys, and there’s exciting times ahead with this team, for sure,” Winterstein said.

Two games shy of 200 in the NRL, Winterstein didn’t subscribe to the theory that he was due some luck on the injury front and he battled arm, rib, lower leg and wrist injuries during a season where he played 19 games, the least amount of matches he has played at the club since his inaugural year in the North.

“That’s the game we play, injuries happen,” he said. “I’m fully fit now, which is great, and I’m looking forward to a strong pre-season in preparation for 2018.”

Winterstein praised the club’s contingent of young outside backs, included Torres Strait flyer Gideon Gela-Mosby and Cairns junior Enari Tuala.

Both made their NRL debut in 2017, and the experienced No.5 said the presence of competition for spots from the youth brigade was a huge plus at the club.

“You can’t relax and that’s a good thing,” he said. “Gideon and Enari certainly didn’t look out of place this year,” Winterstein said.

The Cowboys will train for two more weeks before breaking for Christmas, resuming the pre-season slog in early January.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.