As far as big years go, they don’t come much more eventful than the year that was 2008 for Jetstar Gold Coast Titans star Anthony Laffranchi.
A season in which the thrill of earning a maiden jersey for Australian along with his State of Origin debut for NSW was tempered by the sudden passing of his father.
But after a month-long break following Australia’s World Cup campaign, the 28-year-old Murwillumbah junior has returned to training refreshed and eyeing further glory with the Jetstar Titans in 2009.
Laffranchi and fellow Australian representative Scott Prince today joined their Titans teammates for their first pre-season training run at Runaway Bay after returning from a well-deserved break over December.
Despite climbing almost every mountain he set out to in 2008, Laffranchi said there was still plenty left on his ‘to-do list’ heading into season 2009, including further representative honours and finals footy with the Jetstar Titans.
“Hopefully I can help get the Titans off to a good start and I suppose I was in a losing Origin series, so if I could get a crack at that again it would be great. And obviously once you play Test football you want to play it again,’’ said Laffranchi.
“It’s not time to put the feet up and rest now because playing Australia and Origin, once you get a taste of it you want to play a lot more of it.
“It’s always great to be there in September football. First and foremost you want to start the year off well, which we don’t have trouble doing, and I think with the modification with our training you’ll hopefully see some improvements in the back end of the season which hopefully gets us across the line to playing some September football.’’
Laffranchi said he felt refreshed after a long 2008 campaign and said the injection of several NYC under-20s players into the first grade training squad during the pre-season had given the club a ‘fresh excitement’ heading into season 2009.
“It’s very exciting. I’ve only just had my first training run with them today but meeting the guys previously, they’re a very enthusiastic young group of guys and there’s a fresh excitement around the place at the moment,” he said.
“I think the battle for positions is also good as well. It means there’s going to be a lot of comp and the boys will be training really hard and putting their hand up to make the first team.’’
Similarly, Prince said he had enjoyed his time away from football over the off-season and was ready to rip into pre-season training.
“I was pretty much over football. I didn’t want to touch a football and didn’t want to watch football, so the break sort of came at the right time,’’ said Prince.
“Now I’m all nice and refreshed and looking forward to getting fit again and getting back into playing some good football.
“I think most importantly the guys have been training well and working hard together.
“For myself, and I’m sure Boof (Laffranchi) will tell you as well, we’re really looking forward to training hard with the guys and looking forward to the trials and getting on with the season.’’