North Wales Crusaders halfback Elliott Jenkins believes he and his teammates are in good shape ahead of their pre-season opener at Hunslet on Sunday.

The friendly will bring a 406-day wait to an end for Crusaders to take to the field as Anthony Murray’s men prepare for the start of the League 1 campaign in early May.

Jenkins, who will have one eye on earning further Wales caps at the World Cup later this year, can’t wait to finally make his return to action.

“We’re all buzzing now to get back out there,” he said.

“Just getting back out there and playing against 13 is going to be pretty good.

“It’s been a different pre-season as it’s not been as cold, although we’ve had some cold nights along the way.

“We came in and we were all in good shape.

“That’s not usually the case as you would’ve been on holiday or whatever.

“We got quite a few Zoom sessions done and bits of running throughout the winter.

“We did a month in the gym in February so, when we got back out on the field in March, it gave us a lot of time to focus on a bit of ball and gameplay.

“You get injuries and stuff and you’re out for a little bit of time, but you’ll still be touching a ball.

“A lot of us went 12 months without even touching a ball.

“I’m sure that, as soon as we kick-off and get going, it’ll be like we were never away.”

Crusaders boss Murray will certainly have a headache come the start of the league campaign, with the best competition for places the club have had in several years.

“It’s healthy competition,” Jenkins admitted.

“I’ve been here for two years now and we’ve never had so much depth in each position so hopefully it stays that way.

“We’re getting good numbers in training and it’s only good.”

NWC Rugby League