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He has been back at training for less than a week but the Storm skipper is already embracing the hard pre-season grind.

As he prepares to enter his 16th NRL season, Cameron Smith knows better than most how important this part of the campaign can be to a team’s fortunes.

The 33-year-old understands that no success will come Melbourne’s way unless the boys are prepared to leave no stone unturned this summer.

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“(Pre-season) is always tough, this time of year is when we put the hard work in for a strong year,” Smith said.

“I’ve only been back for four days but the boys have been training really hard which is always a good sign.

“One thing Craig says to us every pre-season is that the harder you train in pre-season the more luck you are going to have during the year. It is good to see the boys are having a red-hot crack.”

With eight new teammates to get to know, the start of pre-season will also resemble somewhat of a meet-and-greet for the Storm captain.

Ryley Jacks, at 24, is Storm’s oldest recruit this season, nine years Smith’s junior.

That injection of youth has been a welcome boost to the playing group in the eyes of the star hooker.

“I’m enjoying it, there are a lot of new faces in the squad this year so it is a good chance to get to know a few of the boys.

“We are here in Geelong for the next two weeks so it is a good opportunity to see a few new faces, chat to them from where they are from, know their background and bring the squad closer together.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.