Kurt Mann has a different headspace this Christmas and new year.
It will be his first festive season with four-month-old son Huxley and Wednesday presented the new father with two lots of Santa photos - one for the family album following a few happy snaps alongside Newcastle Knights members and the man in the big red suit.
On the playing front, Mann approaches 2020 with a clear vision about the five-eighth position he's aiming for rather than the utility role he's been more accustomed to during his previous 107 NRL games.
"It makes things a whole lot clearer for me," Mann told the Newcastle Herald.
"He [Knights coach Adam O'Brien] has given me three things to work on and if I work on those it'll give me my best chance of getting that position."
In the opening block of pre-season training, versatile Mann said O'Brien has already delivered a strong message about stability for next year after the Knights used at least four different halves partners next to captain Mitchell Pearce in 2019.
"I've been sort of training strictly in one position this year," the 26-year-old said.
"So Adam has made it pretty clear to me that he doesn't really want to move me around too much, which is something I'm really happy about. It's something I've always asked for ... so I can focus on one thing."
Mann said he hoped tough sessions now would be beneficial for the squad later.
"It's been really challenging," he said.
"They [coaching staff] have changed the way we train a whole heap. We're fitting larger volumes of running into shorter times so everything happens faster.
"It puts your body under a lot of stress, but that's training your mental state as well to be thinking under pressure which is really good for us. It's a necessary evil at the moment, but I think we'll reap the benefits later on."
The Knights will take pre-season training to Tamworth from Sunday before breaking over the Christmas and new year period.
Meanwhile, Knights members from Charlestown, Whitebridge, Raymond Terrace and Dungog had a Santa photo with playing quartet Mann, Connor Watson, Tautau Moga and Phoenix Crossland at Kotara on Wednesday morning as part of the club's "12 Days Of Christmas" promotion.
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