Two weeks in quarantine with only an exercise bike has Melbourne star Brandon Smith ready to "win the Tour de France" as he and teammates returned to duty with personal bests in the Storm's gruelling fitness tests.
Smith and five-eighth Cameron Munster posted records in Wednesday's yo-yo test, the gut-busting exercise that measures aerobic endurance as players end up sprinting until exhaustion.
Kiwi international Smith was particularly surprised given he only emerged from two weeks of isolation in a Melbourne hotel on the weekend.
Unable to even open his hotel window to get fresh air after arriving from New Zealand, Smith estimates he clocked more than 350km on his bike before going back into a similar lockdown experience with Craig Bellamy's squad in Albury.
"I did about 30km a day for 12 days, I always made sure I did 30kms a day and that was my little mental battle with myself," Smith said of his quarantine cycling.
"One day I decided to do 50km and then the day after I couldn't sit back on the seat, I needed a day off.
Max the King of isolation
"I'll be winning the Tour de France with Lance Armstrong.
"The mental battle of just being inside four walls was starting to dwell on me but in the end I got through and as I was walking out the door I just had this massive feeling of happiness and relief.
"That two weeks was pretty much worth it just to walk out the door.
"Being around the boys now I'm grateful I got to do that two weeks because I've missed out on all this banter and being able to hang around people, I'm more grateful for what I've got now.
"It's an eye-opener to what I should be taking in and loving training a little bit more than I do."
Munster also reported back for duty in decent nick, recording an 18.4 yo-yo score while Smith hit 18.1.
After travelling to his home town of Rockhampton for the NRL hiatus, Munster ended up playing a round of golf with world No.6 Adam Scott, and says the change in environment had helped improve his fitness.
"It's been a while since I've had some kilometres in the legs," Munster said.
"I usually hit about 17.4 so I definitively smashed my original score so it was pleasing to get a PB.
"With losing weight I was probably just eating better ... Eating a lot of junk can hurt me at times but I think I only had Maccas once in that six weeks."
Skipper Cameron Smith has remained in Melbourne with club permission this week, but will link once more with the side from Monday.
Munster said the champion hooker may yet continue his career beyond 2020 given he is still training and playing "like a 19-year-old", with Smith's eventual retirement spurring his own bid for a second premiership ring.
Last time they met: Dragons v Storm - Round 16, 2019
"I want to really win a competition not only because Smithy's in the team and it could be his last year," Munster said.
"But I want to try and win more after that because everyone is probably going to try and put a question mark on that.
"'Is Cameron Munster going to be able to win a competition without the big three around?' That really drives me to make sure I can do something like that when they're away."