AFTER the worst season in the joint-venture's history it's no surprise St George Illawarra players are preparing for a brutal pre-season.
On Tuesday they received a taste of what to expect, with the squad put through the first gruelling fitness session of the summer.
Veteran Tariq Sims, from Gerringong, was lucky enough to miss a portion of the session, the NSW star still on the comeback trail from double groin surgery, but he said the players recognise a tough pre-season is exactly what they need to ensure 2020 is a more successful year.
"There's going to be absolutely no shit this pre-season," Sims said.
"There's going to be no short cuts - we're going to be pushing each other to be the best version of what the club wants to see us.
"We need to repay our fans and instill the trust back in them and make sure we're coming out doing what we need to do to get the job done."
Sims carried a pair of groin strains for the entirety of the 2019 season, with a heavy injury toll preventing the 29-year-old from taking the time off needed to recover.
Eventually the damage was too great and Sims underwent double groin surgery in August.
Now, 13 weeks after the operation, the powerful forward is enjoying running pain free for the first time in months.
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"I did it in the Rabbitohs Charity Shield match, both of them," he said.
"It was a tough year, we managed the situation as best as we could to make sure that I was out on the field.
"It was one of those years, I needed a couple of weeks break but unfortunately we were dealing with some injuries so I just couldn't get the time off.
"I went for a trot yesterday and I was saying to the boys that were running, it feels so good to run without being in pain or having to warm up for 25 minutes just to run.
"Now I'm over that injury, I just need to make sure I'm focusing on rehabbing and getting back to where I need to be."
Sims and fellow Gerringong Lions product Jackson Ford were greeted by a number of new faces when they arrived at WIN Stadium on Monday, with assistant coach James Shepherd and new strength and conditioning coach Adrian Jimenez among a revamped coaching staff.
Not present was head coach Paul McGregor, who is currently in the United States on a professional development tour and Shane Flanagan, the currently banned coach who will likely sign on as an assistant coach in the coming weeks.
While he has never worked with Flanagan previously, Sims said it would be exciting to train under the premiership-winning coach.
"I just heard about it then, apparently Flanno's coming," he said.
"A bloke of his calibre and coaching experience, he'll lead to bettering our leadership group as well.
"I don't know him from a bar of soap, what I've seen is he's very strict but a bloke that demands respect because he's earned it.
"If it is true, that's great for the club.
"I think it's going to be great for us as a playing group and also when Mary gets back from his overseas trip, most of the squad will be back together."