Falcons prop relishes his new-found fitness
RUGBY LEAGUE: Sunshine Coast Falcons prop Darryn Schonig believes he's a fitter, more staunch defensive rock in the state league this year and is hungry to take on his old club.
The 22-year-old joined the Bokarina-based outfit in the off-season and was one of four Falcons to participate in Melbourne Storm's pre-season.
He's been quick to make an impact on field in the opening four rounds for the club and credits his new-found energy and endurance levels to his time spent down south.
"I definitely think on the back of the pre-season at Melbourne Storm I've picked up a bit more fitness and my energy has got a bit better and I've been able to play more minutes,” Schonig said.
"It's more mid to late year when I start to play big minutes but this year it's been in the early rounds that I've been able to punch out higher minutes so it's definitely a good thing.
"I'm feeling a little bit lighter than I've ever been before too, so probably 3-4kgs lighter than I normally am, and that's helped a bit getting around the park.”
While he's a fitter weapon in the forward pack, Schonig also believes his defence has risen to new heights as well since joining the Falcons.
"I've been really focusing on my defence a lot this year,” he said.
"It's something that Melbourne have trickled down through the Intrust Cup to teams they're affiliated with and it's something that Eric has made a big emphasis on this year.
"Everything is defence and working hard to always be filling the space and I think I have improved in a few areas.”
The Falcons will take on Schonig's old club Northern Pride on Saturday at Sunshine Coast Stadium (5pm).
Despite there being a tough tug-o-war for his services last year, Schonig believed there would be no bad blood or animosity between the outfits.
"I've been looking forward to this game since the draw got released,” he said.
"I think it'll be a little bit strange not warming up with them but I think it will be funny when we go to pack a scrum or something and see my old mates standing there and I think it'll be a bit of a laugh.”