G'Day to all Wolves fans!
Before leaving for our training camp we had a jet lag protocol and meeting about how to combat this potential problem. Since arriving we have followed out the instructions and the players have adapted to the Sydney time zone remarkably.
Day 1 (Monday 9th Jan)
Upon landing we went straight into work mode and went for a swim and a few skills on the beach. We are stopping at the Crowne Plaza Hotel which is first class and has everything required to make our stay productive. The hotel regularly hosts NRL teams as well as the NSW State of Origin team, meaning they are well equppied to cater for all our needs.
Trust me there are some people that need looking after!!!! (no names mentioned).
Day 2 (Tuesday 10th Jan)
We arrived at our training camp Matriville High which is world class. We can walk straight out of the gym onto our training field. The venue sometimes hosts the NRL team Sydney Roosters.
Although the day was quite light we managed to get through a weight session and some quality skills. Andrew Johns (Joey) joined the coaching staff implementing skill technique drills with the players. Some of the lads are looking fantatsic in their vest and shorts unfortunately I do not fall into this catergory.
Following the field sessions we went into the ocean for a recovery swim. That evening we dined out at a fantastic restaurant in Bondi with an old fans' favourite Chris Hicks (however the food ordered was monitored by head conditioner, Chris 'Bubble' Baron)
Day 3 (Wednesday 11th Jan)
We were joined for breakfast by another old fans' favourite Matt King. We were also joined by Brad Fittler who had a good chat with all the boys.
The bar was lifted to another level in training both in the gym and on the field. The quality of work we are able to get through would be impossible to do back in the UK. Following this session Joey took the pivots for extra skill work, the attention to detail is unreal. Some of the boys went for a swim in the sea. Adrian Morley and Ben Harrison challenged themselves to reach a rock which was at least 1K from the beach. However, they failed in their attempt as a lifeguard came speeding across on his jet ski, screaming 'are you crazy?' which they both replied 'Why?'! The lifeguard informed the potential olympic swimmers that in the past week alone their has been 20 shark sightings!
Please keep a look out on the website for my next blog.
Day 4 (Thursday 12th Jan)
The lads are training the house down. In the morning we had a weights session followed by a conditioning session. However, we hit a bit of adversity when a freak accident happened, big Dave Sol went backwards resulting in a broken leg. This was a massive blow for the boys to see but the medical staff did an unbelivable job. The boys were shaken but when Sol left the field they went staright back to the drill and ripped in! After the session we chilled just waiting for an update on big dave.
Day 5 (Friday 13th Jan)
This was a skill based day coupled with a weights session. The lads were still gutted for Sol but showed amazing professionalisn in not letting the incident affect training. That afternoon we coached the children's rugby team at Clovelly. We split up into groups and worked on various skills. The backdrop to this session was out of this world. Kindly the Clovelly rugby club put on a fantatsic BBQ for all the boys.
News reached us that Sol had had his op and all went very well. The coaching staff encourage a very early night as we had a 'beasting' the following day.
Day 6 (Saturday 14th Jan)
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! Let me tell you, of the 16 pre-seasons I have expreinced this was probabaly the hardest thing I have EVER done. The popular venue in Cronulla sees many NRL teams training there and there were a number of them there at the same time as us. This session was taken by ex professional player Ben Sammut and lasted for an hour and half. It was non stop running on soft sand, up ridculously high and steep dunes!!!
After this we had breakfast at the fantastic Sealevel restaurant in Cronulla. Upon arriving back to the hotel we were greeted by a fantastic sight of Dave Solomona in reception and at tea time we did powerboating in Sydney harbour.
Day 7 (Sunday 15th Jan)
First day off!
Day 8 (Monday 16th Jan)
Back to business we started off with weights and skills. In the afternoon we went to Maroubra surf club to train with the Westpac Lifesavers. The session included a warm up of a 1k soft sand run, a 2k time trail (again on soft sand), running against the waves and finally a VERY FAR swim out to sea. This was very scary for the weak swimmers as the waves were at least 3 metres high.
We then went to the Westpac base where they showed us a presentation on what their job entails. 3 players names were picked out of a hat and the lucky ones were rewarded with a helicopter ride around Sydney. The lucky players were Super Benny Westwood, Paul Wolfie Wood and Richie Myler. Many thanks to the Westpac staff who ended the day with a great BBQ.
Speak soon, from a very very tired Briersy.
Day 9 (Tuesday 17th Jan)
We did a joint training session with the South Sydney Rabbitohs. This consisted of skill-based drills as well as conditioning. The lads put in a fantastic performance especially in the fitness drills. This gave the boys great confidence knowing that we are as fit, if not fitter, than a NRL side (excluding me ha ha!). We finished with an opposed session versus the Souths and once again we challenged the NRL side. After the joint, gruelling session there was a lot of mutual respect gained.
That evening dinner was served at a Brazilian grill (all you can eat) I think the squad went through 10 whole cows!
Day 10 (Wednesday 18th Jan)
A early start again leaving the hotel at 7:00am, we had a session with the top AFL side Sydney Swans. This session was a once in a lifetime experience; to be allowed to train with a world-class outfit like the AFL Swans was unreal. The AFL players were such good, polite lads it made the day even better. We participated in some of their conditioning drills, which included efforts uncommon to our training and they did likewise.
On a personal level I gained a lot from the day as they taught me different kicking techniques, which I can hopefully utilise in the upcoming season.
Following the session we were given an insight into the history of the Swans by Peter Berbakov, this too was very impressive. We learned there are many similarities in terms of professionalism, behaviours and work ethic between ourselves and the Swans.
Day 11 (Thursday 19th Jan)
Back to Matraville High School for a speed, power and skills session. Although a lot of hard, quality work has been done the boys are still flying and the attitude is first class. Following this session we hit the beach and dipped into the sea for recovery. The guys are loving getting smashed by the three metre waves.
After lunch, kickers and catchers revisited the Swans for a individualised session to enhance kicking and catching techniques, the non-kickers or catchers went to the gruelling 210 steep Coogee steps for an extra conditioning session.
The day was finished with a presentation by our sports psychologist Damian Hughes.
Day 12 (Friday 20th Jan)
The kickers and catchers were not to miss out on the horrendous Coogee steps, we had to do this at 6:30am in the morning. We then left to join the rest of the squad to do weights and skills followed by high intensity conditioning. That afternoon we did a coaching session with some children from the Yarra Amateur Rugby League Club before dining at the popular steak and rib house, Sauce.
Day 13 (Saturday 21st Jan)
This was one of my most enjoyable sessions. We trained with the famous Bondi rescue team (from the hit TV series)! This consisted of beach runs, ocean swims, body boarding, truck pushing and short sprints. After the session the Bondi guys let us all have a go on the jet skis and surf boards. That evening we had a well-earned rest on a harbour cruise.
Day 14 (Sunday 22nd Jan)
Day Off (only second day off in two weeks!)
Day 15 (Monday 23rd Jan)
Back to work! We did a session of skills, weights and tackle techniques. We had a specialist tackle coach to take the session, Milton Dymock (brother of former player Jimmy Dymock) and learned a few new techniques whilst also reaffirming the technique we already use is first class. In the evening we had a great BBQ on the beach in front of the hotel.
Day 16 (Tuesday 24th Jan)
Although the intensity was still high we did slightly taper down for the upcoming match. The session included practising team systems and structure in both offence and defence. We could now feel the excitement of the upcoming game and the start of Super League. That evening we had a presentation from our sports psychologist Damian Hughes. He explained different mental techniques and strategies, in particular when under pressure.
Day 17 (Wednesday 25th Jan)
Day off! Most of the players went in to Bondi to buy presents for their families.
Day 18 (Thursday 26th Jan)
Benny Sammet took us for a boxing condition session at Burrows Park (unbelievable views!) followed by more teamwork focusing on set plays and defensive systems. After the session Andrew Johns took a specific skills session with all the half backs and kickers.
Day 19 (Friday 27th Jan)
Captains Run day! We trained at 5:30pm, a similar time to match-day kick-off. This was held at Yarra Rugby League club and the lads looked ultra sharp. That evening we had a meeting and discussed a few team goals
Day 20 (Saturday 28th Jan)
Game Day! The players were excited and looking forward to the game. We couldn't wait to put into practice what we had worked so hard for.
The Game: We started off really well and raced in front but Souths clawed it back and the game was nip and tuck for the last 10 minutes with both teams drawing. Fortunately with a great bit of skill by Gaz Carvell and Stef Ratchford we managed to put young Gaz O'Brien over for a try and seal the victory. That night the lads chilled out in the hotel with our minds firmly fixed on the start of Super League.
This camp has been an amazing success with the amount of quality work we have been able to get through and has been a once in a life time experience. I would personally like to thank Emirates who have funded the trip as well as the following supporters who made the trip Down Under. I am sure all this work will put us in good stead for the upcoming season.
See you all soon from a tanned Briersy!