Why Hull FC's Kirk Yeaman can't wait for his pre-season flogging
Hull FC reporter James Smailes finds out why Kirk Yeaman is itching to return after a frustrating 2012, hampered by injury setbacks ...
AS the cold weather descends and the dark nights arrive it's approaching the time of the year rugby league players dread.
Come the start of November, the excess of the last month will begin to take its toll as pre-season training begins for Super League sides.
D-day for Hull FC is November 5.
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With a rigorous training regime already put in place, the torture of the opening weeks of pre-season awaits.
As the players return for their annual flogging, one man, though, will greet it with a sense of excitement.
"Ask any rugby league player and they'll tell you the worst thing is pre-season, it's the time of year that nobody looks forward to. Nobody except me maybe," explains Kirk Yeaman.
For Yeaman, this pre-season represents a first opportunity in years for the international centre to sample the experience in its entirety, and he's determined to make the most of it.
"I'm really looking forward to it this year, which probably makes me a little different to most," adds the man in his testimonial year.
"It's a tough time the first month or so of training, when all you are doing is getting flogged out on the field and in the gym. But it is something I've not had for a good few years now and it is just what I need. I genuinely can't wait for it.
"I felt like I missed out last year and because of being with England I didn't come back for training until after Christmas. My first training session was out in Tenerife, there was a new coach, new systems and I felt like I was playing catch-up for the rest of the year.
"Fitness wise you feel like you're behind, but this year I'm going to be at the training ground from day one and once my ankle is ready, I'll be back out there."
An operation on an ankle injury which blighted his 2012 season means Yeaman won't be ready to join the rest of the players on day one of pre-season training.
Due to have his protective boot taken off during the first week of pre-season, he's already started his rehab and strength work on the ankle.
But unable to do any cardio work or lower body weights, the 29-year-old knows he's going to have some catching up to do when he finally does join in with the rest of the group.
"It will be tough when I come back in to the group because I've not been able to do any work the last few weeks, but I'll get over that and the key for me is I'll be able to train and play without any pain," he explains.
Yeaman's operation to repair ligament damage in his ankle also saw the surgeon shave some of the bone away, to stop the constant pain he was being forced to play with.
It was just the latest in a long line of problems that meant the 2012 season was one of frustration for Yeaman.
A foot injury that had resurfaced from 2011 spoilt his start to the year, with an infection meaning a spell on the sidelines. That time out was increased thanks to a broken cheekbone before the ankle problem meant games were missed in the second half of the campaign.
"I never got started last season," adds Yeaman.
"I'd play for three or four games, then I'd be out for a few and it seemed to go like that all year.
"It meant I was struggling to get my fitness up and that's why having a good long pre-season this year will really help me. I feel better for the rest and I'm determined to make the most of it."
YEAMAN'S latest testimonial event takes place on Friday at the Odd Bottle pub on Wold Road. Fans are invited to a casino night which begins at 7pm.