IT was business as usual for the Newcastle Knights on Monday, despite the heatwave conditions.
By the time their morning conditioning session had finished, the temperature at Mayfield was 33 degrees, yet Newcastle’s training staff consider this an ideal preparation for the early rounds of their 2018 campaign.
“It will hold us in good stead for the season itself,” Newcastle’s physical-performance manager Tony Ayoub told The Herald.
“Training in the heat is a little bit more taxing and gives a bit more effect, in terms of their cardiovascular system.
“For us, unless the heat is extraordinarily dangerous, we don’t really change anything.
“We usually train from about 9am to 11am anyway, before the real heat of the day, but we feel the heat is going to help us with the season coming up.”
The Knights had no training scheduled on Sunday, when the temperature at Nobbys reached a stifling 41.4 degrees.
Ayoub said had they encountered such extreme conditions 24 hours later “we probably would have brought the session forward, because the humidity was extraordinary. But we play games in places like Townsville, and the humidity up there is always tough.
“So training in these conditions helps prepare us for trips like that.”
Ayoub had “no doubt” that Newcastle’s players were in far better shape for the season ahead than when he arrived a year ago.
He said coach Nathan Brown “has done a wonderful job” in mixing veteran imports with Newcastle’s long list of promising youngsters.
“With the recruits this year, seasoned veterans like Mitchell Pearce, Jacob Lillyman and Chris Heighington, they’ve had so many pre-seasons, they’ve just lifted our standards,” Ayoub said.
“Plus, the young guys from last year are all 12 months further down the track.
“We’ve got a plan in place, and this pre-season we’ve really upped the ante on them.”
Ayoub said Daniel Saifiti, Mitch Barnett and Tautau Moga, all of whom underwent shoulder reconstructions in the off-season, are expected to be available for round one.