YOU might think that, as it’s bye week, our coaching staff would give the players some time off to recharge their batteries before we start preparing for our next game, against the Dragons at Kogarah on Sunday week.
Far from it.
We’re still working as hard as ever to achieve our goals, both individually and as a group.
And this week in particular, we’ve been pushing ourselves to the limit with a series of strength and fitness tests.
On Monday we were in the gym where our strength-and-conditioning coach, Luke Portese, was delighted with the results.
Usually we do most of our heavy lifting in the pre-season, then once the season is under way, we revert to a modified program that allows us to recover between games.
So it is not always easy to maintain maximum strength, but the numbers we racked up on Monday were encouraging for everyone.
There were a few efforts that especially stood out.
Peter Mata’utia squatted eight reps of 240 kilograms, which is awesome.
And young Braden Robson, one of our promising NSW Cup back-rowers, bench-pressed six reps of 155 kilos.
Equally impressive was Luke Portese’s display in the wrestling ring. Mitch Barnett rates himself as one of the best wrestlers in the club, but he had his hands full against Luke.
What the results showed is that Luke has done a great job and that we are as physically strong now as we were at the start of the season.
Hopefully that transitions into a few wins between now and when the full-time siren sounds on our 2017 campaign.
Last week, we felt we were pretty unlucky, again. One much-publicised decision by the match officials certainly had a big impact, especially given the horrendous conditions.
From my own point of view, it was frustrating to be ruled out early in the game after I failed a head-injury assessment.
I was returning a kick and copped a shoulder from Manly centre Dylan Walker bang on my left eye socket.
When I started feeling dizzy, I had to come off the field.
In the dressing room, I underwent a number of quick cognitive and balance tests and our medical staff took the decision out of my hands.
It left me with mixed emotions. I definitely wasn’t knocked out, but was I concussed?
I suppose that depends on the definition of concussion.
The bottom line is that such decisions are no longer left up to the players.
Your natural instinct is that you want to play on. You don’t want to leave the team a man short.
For our own well-being, the staff sometimes have to intervene.
The NRL’s stringent protocols should be applauded. It’s better to be safe than sorry.