THE arrival of Lee Addison as Ipswich State High rugby league head coach proved a shock to the system of some of the players.
But as they get used to Addison's expectations, excitement is building that something special could be in the making.
ISHS plays Marsden High in a trial next week with Addison deliberately making it tough for his players.
"It's right in the middle of pre-season," Addison said.
"So they'll be tired before they start. But that's part of the plan, so they know what they're in for."
Addison has been planning his 2013 program since arriving at the school late last year.
There has already been a vast improvement as the players have come to terms with the former St Gregory's, Campbelltown coach's high standards.
"This has probably been our best week," Addison said.
"It was a massive culture shock I think. I came here with a St Gregory's mentality and am applying that here.
"The first couple of weeks were quite slow but the improvement has been phenomenal."
Addison believes that is in part due to the players gradually grasping the new methods he has introduced.
"We're narrowing our focus now," Addison said.
Addison believes there is plenty of raw talent at the school to work with and it will only get better as the rugby league academy he oversees bears fruit.
"They do lack the intensity St Gregory's had," he said.
"But they are learning now."
Current first squad member Aarron Heaney was there last season before Addison arrived and appreciates the difference in standards.
"It was pretty tough," Aarron said of Friday's training session.
"One of the toughest we've had this year. It's going to pay off in the long run."
Flogging the players in pre-season is one thing, but getting them to buy into the value of it shows Addison has already overcome one hurdle.
"This year is completely different to last," Aarron said.
"We're working hard and there's more structure.
"It's also a better group of boys who work together as a group.
"Mr Addison works us hard but we all know it will pay off when the season starts."
The goal for 2013 is to improve on last year's third place finish in the Ipswich schools open competition, the Titans Cup.
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