Kevin Proctor struggled through his first training sessions since contracting COVID-19 but the Gold Coast veteran is feeling strong again ahead of his 15th NRL season.
Proctor was among a large contingent of the Titans playing squad and staff forced into isolation over the Christmas break.
Like many of their NRL rivals, Gold Coast have trained with limited numbers in recent weeks but should soon have a full squad, according to Proctor, with only a few troops currently in quarantine.
"It's been a weird start after New Year's with all the boys getting COVID, but all the boys are dealing with it really well and just getting on with the job," the second-rower said.
Proctor's experience with the virus was on the milder end of the scale.
"I lost my appetite and I found it hard to breathe sometimes, but other than that I was OK," the 32-year-old said.
"I didn't have any coughing or (other) illnesses. It wasn't too bad, but I'm sure it affects other people differently.
"The club have been easing us back in. The first couple of sessions, it was pretty heavy breathing, short of breath kind of thing.
"I'm not sure if that was just the COVID or that I hadn't trained in two or three weeks."
Despite the health setback, Proctor is fit and raring to go as he nears the completion of his 15th NRL pre-season.
The off-contract forward hasn't decided if he will continue his 275-game career past 2022 but his passion is yet to fade.
"The body's feeling good. No niggles," he said.
"Last year's pre-season I had a few niggles, especially at this time of year, and they pulled me out of the All Stars game."
After sharing the captaincy in 2021 with Jamal Fogarty, who has joined Canberra, Proctor isn't fazed about being reappointed skipper.
"It's obviously a massive privilege but it doesn't change what I do on or off the field anyway. It's just a title to me," he said.
And after guiding the Titans to their first finals appearance since 2016 last season, Proctor has set down clear values for the team.
"Even if the 'c' is next to your name, you don't look down on some of the guys that have trained and trailed, or your pay packet's bigger than these guys' - no one's better than anyone else here," he said.
"There's a no 'D-word' policy."
Australian Associated Press