MILTON-ULLADULLA product Jack Murchie and his Canberra Raiders jumped in the NRL deep end, fully clothed, and then emerged carrying the bricks they hope will be the foundation for a finals revival next year.
The Green Machine are one of the first teams to start pre-season training and have completed a three-day camp around the capital to lay down a marker for their goals over the next 12 months.
Coach Ricky Stuart says game-focused training will begin next week, but the start was jumping into pools, navigating ropes courses, flipping tyres and holding the bricks of hard work above their heads.
It was all part of the Raiders plan to end two years of disappointment and force their way back into the NRL top eight for the first time since 2016.
The players grabbed their bricks, wrote down the phrases they'll live by in 2019 and then had to complete a series of exercises with them.
The key points of a Raiders football department review after missing the finals this season centred around resilience and mental toughness was a major focus following close losses. The full details of the review are yet to be published.
"It wasn't the normal run of the mill army camp in regards to being bashed up physically," Stuart said on the Raiders website.
"A number of points came out of our review from last season that there's a lot to work with in regards to the mind, resilience and making decisions under duress.
"Over the last two and a half days, the guys have been put under a lot of duress and then it was about choices we made, and buy in. A lot of mental courage and resilience is required, a lot of the camp has been based around areas that I believe we need to be better in coming from our review of last season."
The Raiders have been hit by two unexpected pre-season injuries. Ata Hingano had shoulder surgery last week and will miss the first rounds of the season after being injured while playing for Tonga.
Jordan Rapana will arrive back in Canberra on Thursday night after twice dislocating his shoulder in New Zealand's loss against England last weekend.
It is hoped Rapana will not need surgery if there is no serious damage to the shoulder joint, but if he needs an operation he could be ruled out for up to six months.
His absence could prompt the Raiders to explore the opportunity to seek salary cap relief and recruit an extra another player to help fill the void.
But the rest of the squad is being put through its paces by Stuart and his strength and conditioning staff as they look to return to the finals and erase the memory of a 10th-placed finish next year.
Players were thrown into the pool in the clothes they were wearing, had to climb across the water on a ropes course and then complete fitness sessions.
"We've got a very, very good football team here, a great squad of players. I believe we're better than where we've finished over the last two seasons," Stuart said.
"A lot of that comes down to our close losses last season after having some convincing leads. It comes down to a few things, lucky is one. Every football team needs luck and I think we were out of a bit of luck at times last season.
"Every team needs resilience and I believe we need to improve in that area at times. Every team has to make choices under duress and under fatigue. We need to work harder in those areas.
"We're not going to get warm and fuzzy because we've finished the camp ... this has to continue for the next 11 months."