TOUCH FOOTBALL: Training solo and keeping fit are the off-season goals for Gladstone touch star Justin Cridland as he prepares for another crack at the Elite 8 series next year.
Cridland was recently chosen in the Cowboys Elite 8 touch football team which will compete at the National Touch League at Coffs Harbour on March 7-10.
The Cowboys have made just three changes to their 2017 Elite 8 men's team in their quest for a third-straight title.
Cridland and Trevor Moran return to the side after missing the 2017 series, while exciting Rockhampton youngster Blake Moore makes his debut.
The 20-year-old University of Queensland physiotherapy student is back in Gladstone for the summer but knows he can't afford to put his feet up for too long ahead of the tournament in March.
"I'll be taking time off but I'll be training by myself to make sure I'm fit and ready to go for Cowboys," Cridland said.
"I didn't play in the last series because I played league down in Brisbane for the Norths Devils' Colts Under-20s.
"I'd probably prefer to focus on touch now."
Cridland will play in his third Elite 8 tournament next year so knows what to expect at Coffs Harbour.
"Elite 8 is probably the open's State of Origin so it's a good way to work into the open Aussie side," he said.
The Elite 8 is designed to bring the best players from across Australia in a revised format of eight teams including four from New South Wales, three from Queensland and one from the rest of Australia.
The Cowboys defeated Titans 6-3 in an all-Queensland final this year, securing their third title in four years.