Arrow set for crucial pre-season
Most players spend the off-season having a break from the rigours of a long year, but that is not the case for Norths Devils and Brisbane young gun Jai Arrow.
Arrow has spent his time away from Red Hill on the tools, working hard to try and finish his plumbing apprenticeship that is now in its third year.
It means early mornings and long hours for Arrow as he tries to stick with the same routine that has seen him rise rapidly through Brisbane's ranks.
It's this dedication and work ethic that has him in contention for a starting jersey in 2017 after having played 12 games for the Broncos in 2016.
The 21-year-old lock told NRL.com that this coming pre-season will be the biggest of his career to date after the retirement of captain Corey Parker and the departure of Jarrod Wallace to the Gold Coast Titans.
"It's the most important pre-season of my rugby league career. There are a few spots up for grabs so I need to work hard," Arrow said.
"There will be plenty of competition with a few new boys coming to the club.
"I'm just focused on enjoying myself and whatever comes with that is a bonus. I feel when I'm enjoying myself that I play my best football.
"Pre-season is only a few weeks away now so I can't wait to get back into it and see all the boys."
Arrow didn't even expect to crack the top grade in 2016, but great form for Intrust Super Club side Norths Devils gave Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett no option but to pick him.
He made his NRL debut in Round 10 against the Sea Eagles, putting in a solid performance that saw him earn comparisons to his idol Parker.
His debut was followed by a great run of form that saw him rewarded later in the year, with Arrow not missing an NRL match between Round 19 and the Broncos' semi-final loss to the Cowboys.
Despite his outstanding first year in the NRL, Arrow is staying grounded.
He said although he loves his football and is happy with how his NRL career is progressing, getting out on the worksite can be just as rewarding.
"I'm doing my plumbing over the off-season and I love it. I'm still only an apprentice. I'm in my third year now so I'm working hard to get it done," he said.
"It's great having something to keep me occupied. The NRL season is very long so you need something to get you away from football for a bit.
"I'm not that great at plumbing so it has been good to get better at it and learn a few things."