With no footy being played and no indication of when play would resume, Titans backrower Sam Stone hit the books.
Studying to be a school teacher, Stone said it was his course through Griffith University that kept him focused while at home during COVID-19 restrictions.
"Especially through last year and that lockdown period it gave me something to do when I was sitting at home, so it kept my mind ticking over," Stone said.
"I'm doing the same course at uni as young Toby Sexton, so we bounce a few ideas off each other there and it keeps me occupied."
When play did return, Stone impressed for the Gold Coast side, playing 9 games in 2020 including the Titans Club record equalling five-game winning streak to finish the season.
There will be huge competition for backrow spots in 2021, with off-season additions David Fifita, Sam McIntyre and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui joining the likes of Kevin Proctor and Beau Fermor and Stone in the Titans squad.
"There's obviously a lot of good players here and especially some good players in my position," Stone said.
"All I can focus on is what I can control and that's how I train and play.
"It is all healthy competition and it is just making everyone better.
"There's obviously a lot of competition for spots, everywhere, so everyone is really doing their best to find their way into the 17."
Stone will use trial games against the Burleigh Bears at Pizzey Park (Friday 19th February) and the main NRL trial against the New Zealand Warriors at Lismore's Oakes Oval (Saturday 27th February) to try and force his way into the Titans round one team.
"I've just got to focus on training well and playing good in the trials and I'll see where that puts me," he said.
Should Stone miss NRL selection this year, he'll line up for the Burleigh Bears in the Intrust Super Cup under the tutelage of his father Rick.
"I've never played under my old man, he has always been coaching the senior stuff and it'd be good to work with him and it'd be good fun I think," Stone said.
"I played in the trial game against his team last year so there is always a bit of family rivalry there and it is good fun to give him a little bit of stick as well.
"If I find myself in the Intrust Super Cup, obviously it is a really good comp and I was a bit disappointed that it got cancelled last year.
"Id be happy to go back there if that is what my role is and I'll focus on playing good footy there as well."