Once a week, Jayden Brailey sits down with his laptop and becomes a coach for three hours.
He'll churn through footage of whoever the Knights are playing that weekend, looking for the strengths and weaknesses of their hookers and middle forwards. Anything that he thinks his teammates may be able to exploit come game day.
Then he'll cut 15 to 20 separate clips of what he's picked up and forward them onto Adam O'Brien and his coaching staff.
"It's basically only attacking stuff - I don't look at the defence at all and it's just stuff that I might pick up," Brailey says. "My own little video review, I guess."
The injured Newcastle Knights hooker, who is five months into a nine month rehabilitation following a knee reconstruction, says it's to keep his own footy brain ticking over as much as anything. But it's also his way of trying to make a small off-field contribution to his side's premiership campaign when he can't make one on the field.
"I came up with the idea of doing it during the COVID shutdown and I spoke to Ads about it and he loved it," Brailey said.
"If it helps the coaches and the boys in any way, then that's great but for me personally, I still want to keep my footy smarts and still feel like I'm playing footy in a way in my head so I think it's helping in that respect.
"When there were no games on, I just thought to myself I don't want to completely waste the year. I don't want to take a step back, I want to get better. I want to come back next year and come back with a bang. I'm doing everything I can both physically and mentally to make that happen."
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Brailey admits his video work is time consuming and despite what most people might think given he hasn't played since round two against Wests Tigers back in March, he doesn't have a whole lot spare.
He is currently training six days a week and is also trying to finish his sports science university degree on-line before the end of the year.
He's in good spirits but admits the mental battle of getting his head around a nine month recovery with no footy while being in the bubble has its moments.
"Right now, I'm going good," he said. "It's torture all this COVID restriction stuff because you can't do anything. But the knee is coming along good.
"I'm in the bubble and still see all the boys but I'm on the in-active roster because obviously, I'm not going to play again this year so I've freed up my spot.
"I'm training six days a week. I'm running three days and I'm at the gym every day doing upper body weights twice a week and the other days are my legs and knee stuff. So I'm pretty busy. I'm actually busier now than when I play to be honest."
It's been five months [last Friday] since he underwent a patella tendon graft which is the most common operation to fix a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He spent the first three weeks on crutches and didn't get out of his brace for at least four to five weeks.
"I probably started to learn how to walk again after three weeks and that first month was definitely the toughest and the most sore it's been," he said.
"I started running at the 12 week mark and it feels really good now. The biggest thing is you lose a lot of leg muscle so the first six months is all about getting that strength back in the quad. I'm pretty much lifting as much as I was before so it's all going really good."
That's the physical nature of the injury. The mental side is another beast altogether.
"You go up and down - it's a real rollercoaster of emotions to be honest," he said.
"I always knew I was going to battle mentally with it and I've had some dark days. But because I've kept so busy, it hasn't been too bad.
"I've managed to keep myself occupied and take my mind off it a bit. It's been pretty hard with COVID too. I haven't seen my Mum and Dad since May. I miss all the family and it's tough in that respect too.
"But getting to see the boys every day has been really good. They have helped me out heaps and I've got my girlfriend Liliana with me whose been great. She works from home and has really looked after me."
Brailey says he will take a lot from the whole experience come next season.
"I know I'll come out the other side a lot stronger physically and mentally," he said. "When I get back, I'm going to appreciate more the things I probably took for granted before the injury, that's for sure."
Appreciating his coaches more now, no doubt, as well.
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