WOLVES’ players have been pushing beach buggies, mixing with England internationals and learning technique with an Olympian during the opening week of their pre-season training camp in Australia.
And there has been an opportunity to spend time with former teammates too.
As well as their skills and gym work at Matraville Sports High School, highlights of the week have included the players being put through their paces by Australian Rules club Sydney Swans earlier today and NRL giants South Sydney Rabbitohs – home of the England international Burgess brothers Sam, George, Thomas and Luke.
Work has varied from 13-a-side opposed training games with the Rabbitohs at Redfern Oval to endurance running with the Swans at Lakeside Oval.
It was at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre on Saturday that Wolves benefited from swimming instruction from Iranian Olympian Hamid Reza Mobarrez.
And it was with the Bondi Rescue Lifeguards on Tuesday that the squad got to grips with exercise on sand, including buggy races.
The first of four planned sessions with NRL clubs was on Friday when the squad gained some coaching tips from former Wolves centre or winger Matt King, who retired as a Rabbitohs player last year and is now a member of Michael Maguire’s backroom staff.
That also turned out to be the first group training session in primrose and blue for new Wolves prop Roy Asotasi, who was a Rabbitohs player last year.
Two practice matches sandwiched some tough conditioning with Souths.
Stefan Ratchford looks set to take over from Lee Briers at stand off this year and, with several other key personnel changes, Warrington aimed to make the most of the practice games.
Ratchford said: “The more work we can do together as a team can only help, so doing it against an NRL team of their quality will be useful. If we can get it right against them we can get it right against anyone.”
The players had free time to explore at the weekend and a few visited 2013 teammate Mike Cooper, who will be plying his trade with St George Illawarra this year. It became more of an adventure than first expected.
Ratchford said: “We were heading to see Mike at Wollongong, about an hour and 20 minutes away. We saw a sign that said ‘ocean view route’ and we thought we’d take a chance on it. All of a sudden we were in this jungle going up and down mountain roads.
“There were some unbelievable views. Then we get to the edge of the forest and this amazing view just opened up in front of us. We were on top of the cliffs looking down on to the ocean, it was absolutely spectacular.”
Ratchford said Cooper is looking well, living close to the beach, enjoying some tough training and looking forward to the NRL campaign starting.