FOR most NRL players, the 2020 season is one they'll never forget for a number of reasons.
In Adam Clune's case, it marked his debut campaign, where he played in 15 of St George Illawarra's 20 matches.
The Albion Park-Oak Flats product, as happy as he was with the year from a personal perspective, knows there's always room for improvement.
"Looking back on it [2020 season], I played more matches than I expected to - which was really exciting," Clue said.
"However, from a team perspective, it's really tough to put a positive spin on it, as the results were disappointing.
"I'm not one to sit around and dwell on the losses though, rather learn from them, which is why I took a lot of away from the 15 games I played in 2020 - it has given me a base to work from and given me an opportunity to grow as a player."
One aspect the Junee Diesels junior particularly worked on during the Dragons' down-time was his kicking - which he's continued to do so, with specialist halves and kicking consultant Jamie Soward, since starting pre-season last month.
"During the break, there wasn't a huge amount I could have worked on individually, except getting faster and stronger, as a lot of game-based activities are about developing combinations with your teammates," he said.
"One I did practice a lot and have continued to do so is my in-game kicking, which Sowie [Soward] has been super helpful and his knowledge is invaluable.
"I feel that part of my game has progressed, as has my reading of in-game situations, such recognising opportunities when they present themselves on the field.
"It's all about being a better player today than you were yesterday and right now, I feel I'm achieving that."
As well as working with Soward for the first time, the 25-year-old has also been adapting to life under new Dragons coach Anthony Griffin.
"While I've only had one pre-season to compare to this one, I've really enjoyed it so far under Hook [Griffin]," he said.
"There's been an emphasis on long-distance running so far and getting that base fitness heading into the summer pre-season.
"We are starting to transition into shorter running drills and nailing down our fundamental skills, as well as getting our defensive systems in check, in the coming weeks.
"All the coaches have brought a lot of positive aspects to the club and they've all connected to the boys really well - you can tell they care about us all.
"I feel we are definitely heading in the right direction."
Another item that will be touched on in the near future will be Griffin's plans for Clune - who is battling the likes of Ben Hunt, Corey Norman and Jayden Sullivan for a starting halves spot in 2021.
"I haven't specifically sat down with Hook yet but all our interactions thus far have been positive," the Group Seven junior said.
"He knows my focus is where it needs to be and I'm going to do everything I can to lock down one of those starting spots for round one.
"I can only control what I can control and will use the next few months to prove to him that I'm the best man for the job.
"There's a friendly rivalry between all us halves because, at the end of the day, we are all part of the same club and want the same goal, which is getting the Dragons back playing finals football.
"All of us get along really well and bounce ideas off one another - Ben and Corey have played at the highest level for years and I love learning as much as I can from them."
As well as ending the Dragons' two-year finals drought, Clune has a number of other goals earmarked for his second season in the NRL.
"It's just about continuing to grow as a person and player every time I onto the field," he said.
"Last season, I can honestly say I was a much stronger player than I was at the start of 2020.
"So my goal for 2021 will be again to be a more complete player at the end of the season than I was at the start of it.
"By doing that, I'm confident it'll translate to improved on-field performances which will help the club achieve its goal."
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