Red hot year awaiting Duncan
RUGBY UNION: The heat is radiating off his back, sweat coursing down his face. It is a time all footballers detest.
Rockhampton's Duncan Paia'aua is no different.
It is day three of six, into his third week of Queensland Reds pre-season training.
He is no stranger to the gruelling but necessary tasks but been this is his toughest one yet.
"Six days a week and double days almost every day,” the playmaker said.
"We start at 7am and don't get home to at least 5.30pm. They're really long days and we are all over it by then.
"This time we have done mostly running, constantly. Its all about conditioning and starting to build ourselves up.
"Brad Thorn has a contact session on Friday mornings. All the stuff he loves, but we all hate it.”
A month shy of 22, Paia'aua has the temperament and skill set to come of age this season.
While capable of playing flyhalf and fullback, its the number 12 jersey he wants to secure.
The biggest hurdle in adding to his eight Reds caps, Samu Kerevi, Henry Taefu and Karmichael Hunt.
"It is a really healthy competition for spots, which makes us better but also very tough to secure a spot,” the ex-Emmaus College student explained.
"Nothing is holding me back though. I am mentally and physically ready and want to be there for round one.
"Even though I can play multiple positions, I definitely want to play second five. That's where I feel most comfortable.
"I can be used as a crash ball but I have a good passing and prefer the playmaking role.”
With former Reds Stephen Moore, Scott Higginbotham and Quade Cooper joining new recruits George Smith and Lachlan Maranta, the vibe around the club is certainly one of optimism.
The bonus of a settled coaching staff adds to the hope and hype.
"Even though its pre-season, the boys have come together really well, there is a great vibe about the place now,” he said.
"Particularly with the new coaching staff, we are all on the same page. 2017 will be a great year.
"We can really shake things up.”