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.”