Pre-season training update with Mick Potter

With pre-season training now well underway, Wests Tigers Digital caught up with Head Coach Mick Potter who gave us an insight into the first two weeks of preparations for season 2014.


Take us through the first two weeks of pre-season, how have the players handled the return to training?


Its been a steady build-up. We havent gone flat-out straight away, given that most of the players have had a little bit of time off.


We are looking to increase the load next week. The players have applied themselves well and have done everything I have asked of them.


What have you been working on in the first two weeks? Any out of the ordinary training activities?


We have been doing mostly game related training, working on things that we werent so good at in 2013.


We are working on our ruck defence, marker play, ruck control and all those things that we need to get better at. As well as the physical stuff, getting aerobically better.


Obviously we are looking at getting the team stronger and faster, plus working together as a team with their communication skills. Its all part of being a Rugby League player.


Bikram yoga was testing for the players and something a bit different. The players did well they found it hard. It was very warm but I think they felt better after it.





A few of the Under 20s players are training with the NRL squad pre-Christmas. How are they handling it?


Some of the young guys have shown that they are not far off and have been very enthusiastic and very willing.


They are probably a little bit tentative with the older blokes but they will feel a bit more comfortable as the weeks go on. They are all trying their hardest and some of them are a little but underdone, as you would expect with them still being under 20-years-old.


They have got a lot of work to do physically, but I think there is a future there for a lot of them and the experience of having trained up before Christmas will help them out. Hopefully they will take some of that professionalism back to the Under 20s competition and will be as diligent as they have been with us.





What about the new recruits, how are they fitting in?


They are all going reasonably well. I think Martin Taupau is dynamic and certainly looks very strong at training.


Everyone else is fitting in structurally and understanding what they need to do. They are professionals and Im happy with the squad that weve assembled.





Have there been any standout performers in the opening two weeks?


Liam Fulton has been great in testing, for a bloke that is close to 30 he has come up with some really good test results for us. I think hes looking quite good for this time of year.


Jack Buchanan has been in rehab the last few weeks. He has come out and shown just why he played most of the year in NRL. His endurance levels are high and he is starting to put on a bit more weight so he can push and pull around the field. He is looking quite good.





Many Wests Tigers Members are looking forward to the Auckland Nines. Have you started thinking what sort of team you will select?


Its starting to run through our minds of who could possibly come into that team. We dont want to get too distracted on a day-to-day basis because its one tournament and one weekend.


Certainly when we compete in it we want to try to win every game we play in, but right now I dont want to burn any energy on it. Im sure many of our Members could select the players who would have a tendency to do well in the Nines.


We will have a good balance of speed and size with guys like (David) Nofoaluma, Taqele (Naiyaravoro) and Marika (Koroibete). They are obvious selections. Pat Richards and (James) Tedesco will be in the mix.


Robbie Farah, Liam Fulton, Cory Paterson and those types of players that have offloading and kicking ability will create a more flamboyant game. We will pick the kind of players who can capatalise on the space around them.


INJURY UPDATE




MITCHELL MOSES (Leg)


Mitchell is back running, hes not doing full training just yet but certainly feeling a lot better on his feet. From three months ago hes definitely feeling better and that fracture that he had has settled right down. He has no pain and has looked good at training. We are just building his work up, hes probably at about 70%, we will give him another 2-3 weeks and he will be up to speed.





NATHAN BROWN (Pectoral)


Nathan Brown is still looking to be mid-January. Hes training hard and isnt looking too bad. Hes probably ahead of schedule, still late January to early February before he will be looking to be back at full training.





TIM SIMONA (Shoulder)


He is still on track. Tim is only nine weeks post-operation so he has got a long way to go. Its a six-month recovery on his shoulder.


KEITH GALLOWAY (Foot)


Our medical staff are trying to get Keith back for the first game of the year. Hes never short of training ethic - he trains hard. At the moment we are just playing that waiting game. He is staying as fit as he can without running and his toe injury just takes time.


CURTIS SIRONEN (Groin)


Curtis is nearly in full training, he is pushing his way back into training where he can. He keeps trying to jump in but we are holding him back a little bit from his groin operation that he had in the off-season. He is very close.