RUGBY LEAGUE: Brisbane's Sam Thaiday will ask coach Wayne Bennett if he can spend more time on the training paddock and not the playing field this pre-season.
Thaiday missed the first half of Broncos' pre-season training due to Australian representation at the Four Nations, before he was forced to be stationary for a month after fracturing his eye socket.
And while the 31-year-old flew to New Zealand for last year's Auckland Nines, he wants to remain at Brisbane's training base during this year's tournament.
"The conversation I'm going to have with Wayne is I don't want to play too much footy,” Thaiday said.
"I'd much prefer to put the hard yards out there in the training sessions and do fitness and get fit so round one I'm fighting fit and ready to go.”
Brisbane has one of the busiest pre-season schedules of all teams this year.
The Broncos will play a trial against 2016 premiers Cronulla on February 4 - a week before the Nines - and travel to England for a clash with Warrington on February 18.
It's all ahead of a bumper year for their representative stars, which is unlikely to end for Thaiday until the World Cup final on December 2.
"It's another tough long year,” Thaiday said.
"Having the eye-socket injury was a blessing in disguise. It actually made me stop.
"I couldn't really do overly too much for four weeks. It gave my body a chance to rest and heal and recover.”
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.