ULLADULLA'S Matthew Gilkes is growing far too used to staring at the four walls inside a hotel room once video games grow tiresome.
Which is why the Sydney Thunder wicketkeeper is desperate to finally play a game in their Big Bash League opener against the Melbourne Stars at Manuka Oval on Saturday.
Gilkes and the Thunder are out of their mandatory three-day quarantine in Canberra.
It couldn't come a moment too soon for Gilkes, who spent six weeks with the NSW Blues in their Adelaide bubble and couldn't force his way into the XI.
Manuka Oval will host six BBL matches this month with the tournament being launched in hubs in Canberra and Tasmania before games are played in Queensland and South Australia.
"It's been a little bit boring but we got out for our first training session [on Sunday], so it was good to get out," Gilkes said.
"For the moment we have to do our initial three days, every time we're indoors we've just got to be on our own.
"We can't mingle too much with anyone else in their room.
"There's not really much to do, I brought my PlayStation so I pretty much just use that to get the time by.
"It's been different, especially for me because I was down in Adelaide and I didn't even play at all.
"I went the whole six weeks down there without even playing a game.
"It's a little bit different in that regard, not getting as much time out in the middle as you would have liked.
"That's just how it is at the moment.
"There's nothing we can do about it, so we've got to keep training and that's about it really."
The Thunder enter the tournament as anything but a bookmaker's favourite, seen as the least likely to crack the top five, make the final and lift the trophy.
Yet they fell just one game short of last season's decider and, in Gilkes' eyes at least, "we've got a better team".
The Thunder are set to retain their entire squad throughout the Test summer with the Callum Ferguson-led outfit boasting no players in the national side for the longest format.
New recruit Ben Cutting fired in the Thunder's first trial in a win over the Sydney Sixers, as did Thunder mainstays Ferguson, Arjun Nair and Nathan McAndrew.
"The coaches have highlighted that's what they're trying to do at the moment, not chop and change too much," the Ulladulla High School alumnus said.
"We've got that core group which is the same as last year, and we've recruited a few new guys too which has strengthened our team for sure, with a lot more experience than we had last year.
"The fact we came third last year, and I feel like we've got a better team this year, I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to go the whole way."
Sydney Thunder's schedule in Canberra
Saturday, December 12 - Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder at Manuka Oval, 4.05pm.
Monday, December 14 - Sydney Thunder vs Brisbane Heat at Manuka Oval, 7.15pm.
Tuesday, December 22 - Sydney Thunder vs Perth Scorchers at Manuka Oval, 7.15pm.
Saturday, December 26 - Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Renegades at Manuka Oval, 6.10pm.
Tuesday, December 29 - Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Stars at Manuka Oval, 7.15pm.