Whatever happens at the Warriors this season, expect to see an improved Sam Lisone.
The prop admits he struggled with a few demons last year, unable to get on top of the mental side of the game and battling some weight issues early in the campaign.
That led to the least productive season of his career, as he spent long periods in reserve grade.
"There was a bit of mental stuff, mindset, I wasn't mentally in it," said Lisone. "But I have addressed all that. It's about staying in the now and just realising that being here is an opportunity. That's probably the biggest thing. Everyone in the game is physically strong but it is about controlling the top two inches."
Lisone has done plenty of soul-searching during the offseason, looking back on a year where there was little progress compared to other campaigns. There were some moments for the 25-year-old Samoan international, but not nearly enough.
"I do know [what was missing], but it's something I've addressed to myself," said Lisone.
"I've come in this year, no excuses sort of thing. Yeah, there was injuries, there was suspensions, but I can't put it on that. I've turned a new leaf in my book, try to put my best foot forward every day at training. It has been a long, long pre-season. The last conditioning day was [last] Monday."
Last year it didn't help that Lisone, like others in the Samoan squad, reported back at Mt Smart after the 2017 World Cup a few kilos over his playing weight. It eventually resulted in a year of fits and starts.
The Otahuhu Leopards junior featured in just 11 matches, all but one off the bench and played only twice between mid-May and the end of the year.
It was an unusual situation, as Lisone had been a regular in the previous three seasons.
His aggressive approach, on attack and defence, his pace and his second phase ability offered a valuable point of difference.
After helping the club win the 2014 NYC title, Lisone was one of breakout stars of an otherwise difficult 2015 campaign. As a 21-year-old, he made the step up into first grade with aplomb, playing the first 14 games on the bounce and making an instant impression.
He progressed further the following year, then missed only one match in 2017, before regressing last season.
Lisone, with 74 NRL games behind him, is enthused about what's ahead. Along with many other Warriors, he enjoyed a post-season trip to Queenstown for Mason Lino's stag do, then found new levels during a long conditioning campaign as he impressed onlookers, winning internal "trainer of the week" awards before Christmas and in January. He has also put on a few kilos of muscle, from tough gym sessions with fellow prop Agnatius Paasi, hoping the increased bulk (playing weight 110kg) will add another dimension to his game.
He showed some good early signs in Friday's 12-6 trial win against the Storm at Geelong in Victoria, getting through three high-energy stints and bringing speed, power and discipline to his work.
"It's been pretty solid," said Lisone. "I've been pretty happy with how I'm travelling. I'm pretty excited. I've got a few goals I have set. I'm happy I have got a good foundation ... in pre-season you build your foundation."