Strength & Conditioning Coach, Joel Fulford, has praised the squad for their hard work during a vigorous pre-season schedule.
The players have been put through their paces, training six days a week to ensure they are in peak physical condition for the start of the Betfred Super League campaign in February.
Fulford, who works alongside Martin Clawson in the Strength and Conditioning department, has given us a real insight into the training schedule throughout pre-season.
“First and foremost, they’ve all been working tremendously hard. It’s no secret that this part of the year is really demanding for the players and they’ve been fully focused and professional since returning six weeks ago.
“It’s been pretty full on throughout the days as we do a number of different things. We start with a few injury prevention circuits, then there’s a block of time that the skills coaches spend with the players. In the early weeks of pre-season, there was more focus on the Strength & Conditioning element, but as we’re now getting into the ‘nitty-gritty’ of pre-season, the coaches are spending more and more time with the players, whilst obviously there is still a focus on physical development.
“There are plenty of field sessions taking place, plus plenty of weight sessions going on in the gym. Tailored programmes have been given to the players based on what they need. For example, a few of the younger boys may be looking at adding some size and some other players could be looking at increasing power. A lot of speed and technical training takes place, plus plenty of running sessions and plyometrics.
“All in all, there are a number of different elements involved as we focus on physical development, but as we’re now deep into the heart of pre-season, the rugby side will start to take more of a focus.”
Following on from a highly successful 2017, Chris Chester’s squad hasn’t altered much. Only a couple of new players have arrived at Belle Vue, whilst the majority of last year’s playing roster remains the same, and Fulford believes having a settled squad going into the new season is highly beneficial.
“I think we’re gifted in the fact that we have retained the core of our players from last season. Those guys are helping the new players settle in really well; they’re helping them understand the process of how we do things and each of them have slotted in seamlessly.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how they go and I’m sure they’ll improve what is already a great squad of players.”
We were also given an update on Tom Johnstone’s progress, after the winger missed the majority of 2017 with a serious knee injury. The 22 year-old is on track and set to feature in some of the pre-season friendlies.
“Tom’s doing great. It was really unfortunate for him to pick up an injury like that, especially as he was playing so well.
“He’s been working really hard over the last few months and we’ve set him a few targets that he’s been working towards. Hopefully the fans will see a bigger, stronger, faster and more powerful Tom Johnstone in 2018.”