Cowboys hooker Jake Granville used his time off while the NRL was suspended to edge closer towards completing an apprenticeship he began almost a decade ago.
Granville, 31, worked as an apprentice carpenter while playing for Wynnum Manly but put a career in the building game on hold when he joined the Brisbane Broncos' full-time squad in 2014.
He picked up the tools again after moving to Townsville and has been working for a building company owned by former North Queensland prop Martin Locke when he has time available since the end of the 2017 season.
With building sites remaining open while most other industries were forced to shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions, Granville took the opportunity to get back on the job full-time until training resumed last week.
"In the break I was lucky enough that my boss at Martin Locke Homes took me back on to re-start my apprenticeship," Granville said.
"I have been chipping away at that for about eight-to-ten years so it was good to be able to get back on the tools and back around the boys there, and to try and get a few hours on-site."
The Cowboys rake has completed three years of his apprenticeship and is closing in on becoming a qualified carpenter but for now he is pleased to be preparing for the May 30 clash with Gold Coast.
"It does make you appreciate what we get to do day in and day out here at the Cowboys," Granville said.
North Queensland's QCB Stadium has been confirmed as one of six grounds for NRL matches when the Telstra Premiership resumes on May 28, meaning the Cowboys will get to play home games at their new ground in Townsville.
However, Granville said home ground advantage would count for little as fans will not be allowed to attend matches.
"I suppose the little edge you can get is from your preparation but in having said that when we flew down to play the Dogs [in round two] on the day of the game I reckon you could tweak a few things around that sort of prep and it wasn't too bad either," he said.
An area where many consider the Cowboys to gain some advantage is the introduction of the new "six again" rule to replace penalties for ruck infringements.
With Granville and Reece Robson sharing the dummy half duties for North Queensland, tiring opposition defences are expected to be tested without a break to reset when a penalty is awarded.
"It is definitely something attacking teams are going to try and take advantage of and play up-speed type of footy," Granville said.
"If you have got to keep doing repeat sets in defence it is going to tire the opposition's ruck out and you could look for an opportunity to dart out or play on the edges with a bit of speed."