St Helens players have been pushed to their limit in a winter work out with a difference.
The first team squad were up at a Cassius Camp at Silverholme in Graythwaite in the Lake District. The idea was to take the players out of their comfort zone in the build up to the 2016 Super League season.
It was different from the usual pre-season training camp as it was purposely designed to focus on the players' mental and physical wellbeing as well as teamwork.
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Widnes have signed Warrington centre Chris Bridge on a two-year deal that will take effect after the current campaign.Read the full story ›
Well tonight Super League is back.
It kicks off with a local derby as the Widnes Vikings take on the Wigan Warriors. Both teams are coached by former Wigan teammates. Two hardmen of the sport. We don't have any of those, so we sent Chris Hall to meet them.
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St Helens player Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook has been punished by the Rugby Football League for swearing in the immediate aftermath of his club's Grand-Final triumph.
Sky Sports were forced to apologise to viewers after an excited McCarthy-Scarsbrook accidently let slip a swear word during a live interview just moments after he had helped his side to a surprise 14-6 win over Wigan at Old Trafford last Saturday.
He was fined £250 after being found guilty of misconduct.
Warrington's England prop Chris Hill has signed a new contract that will keep him in Super League until the end of 2019.
The 26-year-old front rower, who says he fielded interest from the NRL, has not looked back since he made the step up to Super League from the Championship with Leigh two and a half years ago.
Hill has made 85 appearances, including back-to-back Grand Finals, and has missed just two Super League matches in the last two seasons.
Warrington head coach Tony Smith said: "Chris is a fantastic asset for Warrington Wolves. Since joining the club he has progressed to be one of the best British players in the game. His willingness and hunger to improve is first class.
"If there has been a better performer in Super League on a consistent basis I've yet to see them. Not only is Chris a great player, but he is a quality young man and a great role model for our young players.
"Due to Chris' performances at both club and international level It comes as no surprise that there was interest from the NRL. To secure Chris for a further five and a half years is not only a coup for Warrington Wolves but a real boost for Super League."
Hill admitted he was tempted to join his England team-mates Sam and George Burgess, James Graham and Sam Tomkins in the NRL.
"It was a tough decision for me and my family with the temptation of the NRL but the decision is right for us and I'm fully committed to the Wolves," he said.
"I love it here at the club. With Tony staying on and Richard Agar coming in next year - who coached me at Under-18s with England - I'm looking forward to my many more years here.
"There's a great bunch of talented players and we're adding to it well too with the recent signing of Ashton Sims."
England coach Steve McNamara has included nine Wigan players in a 34-strong squad for a mid-season training camp at Loughborough University.
Hooker Michael McIlorum, who was dropped by McNamara for England's World Cup semi-final last November, is among the Warriors contingent and is joined by Leeds' in-form full-back Zak Hardaker, who is forgiven after being ejected from the national squad as a disciplinary measure.
However, as expected, there is no reprieve for Rangi Chase and Gareth Hock, the Salford Red Devils duo who were the other players who failed to finish the World Cup campaign after falling foul of McNamara's strict code of discipline and showing no remorse since, unlike both McIlorum and Hardaker.
Ironically, the Wigan players will miss the three-day camp from June 15-17 because their club have a re-arranged Super League match against Widnes on June 18 but their selection confirms they are in the reckoning for the 2014 Four Nations Series in Australia and New Zealand in October and November.
There are no NRL-based players in the 34-strong squad, which comprises a crop of hugely-promising players who have taken Super League by storm this year, including St Helens trio Alex Walmsley, Kyle Amor and Tommy Makinson and Catalan Dragons' former Bradford second rower Elliott Whitehead.
The players have been drawn from eight clubs and Widnes stand-off Kevin Brown is arguably the most eye-catching omission.
McNamara will return from Sydney, where he is now assistant coach of the Roosters, to lead the camp, which he feels is an important part of England's bid to taste international success Down Under this autumn
''It's been a difficult process putting this squad together because of the sheer number of players who were in contention.
"There is an enormous amount of talent emerging through the ranks in Super League.''
D Clark, C Huby, M Shenton (all Castleford, E Whitehead (Catalan Dragons), L Cudjoe, B Ferres (both Huddersfield), J Westerman (Hull), J Hodgson (Hull KR), C Ablett, T Briscoe, R Hall, Z Hardaker,
K Sinfield, K Watkins, J Jones-Buchanan (all Leeds), J Lomax, T Makinson, J Roby, A Walmsley, K Amor (all St Helens), C Hill, R Myler, S Ratchford, B Westwood, C Bridge (all Warrington), J Bateman, J Burgess, J Charnley, L Farrell, M McIlorum, S O'Loughlin, D Sarginson, S Taylor, M Smith.
Warrington's Ben Westwood has been banned for three games after being found guilty of a dangerous throw during his side's win over Wakefield.
The Wolves joint-captain will now miss the Super League matches with Leeds and Hull KR as well as a Challenge Cup quarter final with Bradford.