DYNAMIC back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon reckons he can "see the light at the end of the tunnel" as he counts down the sleeps until the Knights return to full training.
Toohey's News: Listen to Barry Toohey's new podcast in your Podcast app
The NRL season was suspended on March 23 because of the coronavirus crisis and, in the five weeks since, players have been forced to train on their own or in pairs, in accordance with social-distancing protocols.
But NRL officials hope they will be granted government exemption to resume full-contact training on Monday, in preparation for a planned re-start of the season on May 28.
Fitzgibbon said it would be a "big relief" for all players when they were cleared to resume normal service.
"I'm sure all the boys will be happy to get back together and enjoy each other's company again," Fitzgibbon said.
"It's been a long four or five weeks. It's been weird.
"You spend all year training with the same 30 blokes, and then all of a sudden you don't get to see each other for over a month.
"It'll be good. All the boys should be fit and ready to hit the ground running, and I'm sure we're all looking forward to getting into some football skills and contact work."
The 26-year-old was adamant players would take seriously the new biosecurity measures the NRL plans to put in place to minimise the chance of anyone contracting COVID-19.
"We just want to play footy, and if the rules are in place that we go to training and games, then go home and isolate, and don't sway off that path, I'm sure all the boys at the Knights will be on board," he said.
"We'll stick to the rules. Like I said, we want to play footy and we don't want the NRL to come to a halt again.
"We'll have to be strict about it but I'm sure Adam [O'Brien] and the coaching staff will make sure we stay on top of it."
Fitzgibbon said he did not feel as though his strength and fitness levels had slipped during the hiatus, having maintained condition with three or four running sessions a week, as well as weights in his home gym.
"We don't want to be coming back underdone and have to spend two weeks playing catch-up, leading into our third game," he said.
"A lot of the boys are close to their best shape. We did a 1.2 kilometre test run last week, and our times were comparable to when we last did it, back in February.
"I think the drop-off was minimal, and a few boys actually improved on their times in February."
With two wins already in the bank, Fitzgibbon said his teammates had every reason to be excited about completing the season.