Making the playoffs this year is a non-negotiable for me.
It's massive and simply has to happen. That's what I came here for - to achieve success on the field - and that's what I want before I go. It felt a bit weird last year to be watching the finals on television; it was the first time in my career that I wasn't involved in the playoffs. I know success will be coming to Mt Smart and I don't want to miss the boat. It's also long overdue for the club; three seasons without September football is long enough.
Our run in to the top eight starts tomorrow. It's always an exciting time of the season, with a tangible goal not far away.
Last week was disappointing, but the Roosters are such a consistent team - you can't give them a inch, and we gave them plenty. Along with the Rabbitohs, they are been the most impressive side I have come across in the NRL. You know they are very good, but it's not until they are opposite you realise how good.
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It's been the same with my teammates. I'd played against Ben Matulino plenty of times for England, but only after being alongside him every day do you realise how good he is. Simon Mannering is another; his work ethic and what he does for the team is something incredible to witness. It still surprises me how a lot of people take him for granted. We certainly don't.
Although it's been a frustrating campaign for me with injuries, I've been happy with my form. Defences are a lot tighter in the NRL than in Super League and it means you have to adjust on the run every week to different defensive patterns.
It has helped that I'm in the best shape of my life. A lot of the credit has to go to Balin Cupples and our conditioning staff. From the first day Balin came to the club we noticed the difference. Pre-season training and gym work was a lot more tailored to individuals, and our days and sessions were structured in a more logical way. It got the results.
In the off season we ran further than we had the year before and lifted more weights in the gym, but recovered faster. I'm weighing in at 85kg now and have retained the muscle mass I put on. In previous seasons I was 83kg and might be down to 80 or 81kg at this stage of a season. Balin always has the latest research at his fingertips and he's one of the reasons some of the bigger boys in our team are in great shape.
Although it has been big news this week, I'm not sure about the impact of the reduced interchanges next year. It's going to make 80-minute hookers and back rowers even more valuable, but I don't know if much else will change. From my experience, coaches and players always adapt to rule changes.