Simply brutal...it’s the only way to describe the punishing field session on day one of 2023 NRL pre-season training for the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.
Having already completed a weights session, what started out as a light warm up with some ball in hand work quickly transformed into a draining hour of running in humid conditions watched on by new Assistant Coaches Shane Flanagan and Jim Dymock, and the experienced football staff.
To the sounds of constant whistles, players – ranging from NRL, development to train and replacement players - ran several distances up and down in very hot, dry winds that literally sucked the breath out of them.
In between shouts of ‘keep at it' to ‘one to go, boys’, players pushed themselves through the pain barrier.
And when drinks were called, the Gatorade bottles were as refreshing as the cold water inside. Some made it to the lips, others just poured it over their aching muscles.
A quick refuel, and the whistle blew…it was go time again….and then again, and, again.
There's no hiding in pre-season. And it doesn't matter how many you have done at NRL level already, it doesn't get any easier.
The intensity levels will only increase in coming weeks as players improve their conditioning leading into the Christmas break before returning in early January ahead of trial matches in February.
Earlier in the day, new Sea Eagles Head Coach Anthony Seibold addressed the playing group via Zoom from London, outlining the team’s goals, values and vision for the season ahead. It heralded a fresh, new and exciting beginning for the Sea Eagles.
Seibold arrives at Manly on November 29 after fulfilling his final duties with England Rugby, leaving Flanagan and Dymock to run training with the former Dally M Coach of the Year in daily discussions with his staff.