THERE were a few eyebrows raised when Saints plucked big Konrad Hurrell from Leeds – and this week there were a few more when pictures of the much leaner-looking Tongan World Cup centre emerged from the training ground.

It looks very much as though the 30-year-old is doing what he set out to do on signing, a vow to get himself in the best shape possible to challenge for a centre berth.

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At the moment, as shirt numbers indicate, his compatriot Will Hopoate and England international Mark Percival are in front of him in the pecking order.

But he is not deterred by that, and he is emboldened by the belief his coach Kristian Woolf has in him.

Hurrell said: “I am not trying to prove people wrong, I just want to show that I can still show that I am the world class centre that Woolfy sees me as.

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“There are a lot of players in front of me, but that is not going to stop me from trying to prove myself that I am good enough to be in the team.”

Having seen the talent in the Saints backline, the 30-year-old former New Zealand Warriors and Gold Coast Titans centre knows he will have to grab any opportunities with both hands.

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“That challenge is what I am looking forward to and I am excited to try and get that spot in the team and not let anyone down,” he said.

“If Woolfy wants me to fit in somewhere else I will put my hands up and play there but at the moment I am focusing on trying to be the best centre in the team and hopefully the comp.

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“I can do stuff that some other players can’t do but I just need to work on a lot of things that will keep me up to the pace of being the best centre.

“So I am working on the little missed tackles or dropped balls – working hard on the little things that I need to tidy up week in, week out.

“Getting a full pre-season under my belt can help me be the best centre I can be and the best shape I can be for the whole of 2022.”

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In eight weeks of pre-season, Hurrell already looks fitter as these images taken by club photographer Bernard Platt illustrate.