2004 May Squadbuilder Meeting

It seems that one of the big factors behind the club’s progress over the past two years is the high quality of the backroom staff, which Squadbuilder members have been lucky enough to get an insight into, and it seems none more so than May’s guest – conditioner Tony O’Brien.

He talked a bit about the pre-season programme and how it was structured, which was 15 weeks this year, and how it continues into the season itself. The rotating programme of key areas also gets applied to both fitness and weight-training. Naturally this gets affected by the fixture programme, with the recent programme of 8 games in 34 days being a prime example.

One aspect that has been worked on this year is improving nutrition, and players are given a comprehensive solid and liquid nutrition pack to be consumed before leaving after a game. The after-match recovery involves the use of ice tubs and swimming, and reports on players from the doctor and physio are e-mailed around for analysis before the next training session.

The club have used the current 15 days off for an intensive training programme, and aim to have all injured players available for the next match. Some detail was given about the current injured players, including how their injuries were sustained and have progressed, and in some cases how their comeback attempts proved unsuccessful. Particularly the positions in which Graham Appo has been training this week, and why, was also food for thought.

A current issue is the standard “head-test” players must pass before being cleared to resume playing after concussion. Apparently players must pass this test against a preset baseline before they can play, but a minor panic ensued pre-season as a nameless few of the squad needed re-takes to achieve the baseline level before they could even play a game.

If you think getting injured entitles a player to a bit of relief, then think again as the injured players get subjected to extra training within the limits of the injury. Worse is the treatment reserved for suspended players who get “flogged”, and we could be in for some surprises when Danny Lima returns.

One thing the club is looking at for next season is the way the overseas players follow their own training programme before joining the rest of the squad. Also to consider is the training camp (this year Lanzarote) which achieved three week’s pre-season work in one. Ths obvious suggestion is to go for longer, but despite the financial implications the clubs that have had long pre-season trips away this year (London and Widnes) have started badly.

The team spirit amongst the squad is still excellent, and one thing that makes the current squad unique is that no cliques exist within it. The pre-season Lanzarote trip inevitably spawned it’s fair share of stories, and yet more stories of chief prankster Nat Wood and his mask abounded.

Thanks go out to conditioner Tony O’Brien who not only gave an entertaining insight but answered all questions from the floor honestly and openly. Finally the meeting agreed to donate £100 to the fund for London Broncos player Matt King who suffered an unfortunate accident in an Academy match earlier in the season.

Next meeting is planned for Thursday 17th June, irrespective of whether there is some round-ball game on TV or not – set the video and get down to Squadbuilder for an excellent evening.

Thanks also go to Squadbuilder member Martyn Ford for the report  from the meeting.