TRAINING alone in isolation was a challenge for some but, luckily for Dragons hardman Tyrell Fuimaono, he'd had his fair share of practice.
One of the finds of the preseason for coach Paul McGregor, the 24-year-old had made a fine fist of a move to Wollongong, proving a handful against the Tigers and former club Penrith over the opening two rounds.
It was made more all the more impressive by the fact that he only joined the club post-Christmas after parting ways with the Panthers left him in career limbo. It meant putting himself though his paces solo in the hope of finding a new NRL home before the Dragons offered a career lifeline.
It was a tough time but, in one of those great rugby league ironies, the time in the wilderness did leave him well prepared for months running his own race when COVID-19 forced the competition into hiatus.
"I kept it as a little secret in my back pocket that I was very used to training by myself," Fuiamono said.
"Having missed pre-Christmas preseason I basically did all training, all my field work, all my gym, by myself. It wasn't a whole lot different, the only real difference was that I didn't have to work first during the day.
"I just fell back into self-motivating to get through that period and try and get myself in the best shape as I could if - and at the time it was an if - the competition came back around.
"I felt like I got a good opportunity and worked really hard to get myself into the position I was for round one and two. Of all the times for a competition to potentially come to an end... I thought I couldn't get much worse luck.
"It's good its come back around now and I'm still in a similar position which is a real positive."
The global pandemic was just latest twist in a career that's hit its fair share of road blocks since a breakout 2017 campaign with the Rabbitohs, to the point he was installing actual roadblocks on the M4 before inking a two-year deal with the Dragons.
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With Tyson Frizell since making the decision to depart the club at season's end, it could prove a masterstroke if Fuimaono can produce a stellar 2020. While he's embracing his role as an impact utility player, he says he's well aware of the opportunity Frizell's departure will offer down the track.
"I definitely have to see it as an opportunity," he said.
"There's other really good guys here like Jackson Ford who could potentially fill that spot so it'll come down to competing for a spot, training well, playing well. I definitely see it as a potential opportunity to really find my feet and secure my future in the NRL which is something I've had trouble with in previous years.
"In changing clubs, and with a couple of injuries I've picked up along the way, I still haven't really done that so that's definitely a personal goal for myself heading into the future."
That competition in the pack has been very apparent in preparation for Saturday's clash with the Warriors.
"Now that we have to full teams competing against each other it's almost like a personal competition to bring it and set the standard," he Fuimaono said.
"Big Taz [Tariq Sims] doesn't shy away from contact, he loves to bang. Frizz goes good and big Mika [Ravalawa] has ironed out a few guys. The boys are all putting their hand up and ripping in to make each other better."