After doing serious damage to his knee in late 2009 during his time at North Queensland Fury, Stefanutto arrived in Brisbane prior to the start of last season with plenty of work to do.
“It’s nice to be back with the team from the start this year and not by myself doing rehab,” he said.
“This pre-season is a fair few months but I think that’s a good thing for me, I can get my core fitness up to what it should be.
“I’m just looking forward to playing games and my big goal is to stay injury-free.”
When signing for the Roar early last year, Stefanutto named winning silverware as one of the key motivators to his switch from the Fury.
Despite playing his part in putting a Hyundai A-League Premiers’ Plate and Championship trophy in the Brisbane Roar cabinet, the three-time Qantas Socceroo said the club’s past achievements would count for little in their preparations for next season.
“I really think we’ve had our celebrations and our glory as such,” Stefanutto said.
“Now we’ve got a clean slate and it starts again now.
“As of the first day of pre-season, whatever happened in the past, happened in the past and now it’s about working hard again and improving.
“Everyone says how good the football we played last year was but we want to go to another level and that’s what we’ll be aiming to do this pre-season for sure.”
While much of the off-season talk within the football circle is traditionally dominated by potential new signings or next year’s aspirations, Stefanutto said he was enjoying the simple pleasures of being back on the football pitch most of all.
“It’s good to see everyone again and good to be with a big group of mates again,” he said.
“It’s nice to get the first couple of weeks out of the road and get some fitness back.
“We’re just trying to enjoy our football and work hard.”