How the Broncos are preparing for NRL return
The Broncos have been tracking their players' isolation training efforts with GPS technology as coach Anthony Seibold set his sights on resuming the 2020 NRL premiership in hot form.
After a slick 2-0 start to the year before the coronavirus pandemic struck, Seibold is determined for the Broncos to hit the ground running when NRL clubs are given the green light to recommence training.
The NRL is pushing to restart its season on May 28 and hopes to give clubs at least three weeks' training before the games begin.
In order to maximise their football-specific training, the Broncos have been given tailored fitness programs to stay in shape while adhering to NRL-issued lockdown protocols.
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The players are required to complete three running sessions and four gym or body weight sessions a week as well as testing to ensure they aren't losing fitness.
The Broncos on Thursday completed 1.2km time trials individually, with data sent directly to staff via smart watches the players have been provided.
"We were given 15 Apple watches by Telstra towards the end of pre-season for a sleep study and the benefit of having the watches now is all their running sessions get uploaded," Seibold said.
"It's like a GPS attached to their watch. It measures their heart rate and distance and all that sort of stuff. It gets uploaded to the head of performance.
"It's not about checking in on them because we're worried about them not doing the work. It's not like 'Big Brother'.
"It's a conversation starter for our performance staff. They can say 'we saw your heart rate got up to this - how did you feel?'.
"I've got great belief in how they prepare and they know how we want to train at high intensity and with limited breaks.
"A lot of them have got home gyms and the ones that don't are doing body weight programs our strength coach sends through.
"They've been going to parks in Brisbane in ones and twos to train and we've been really strong on them adhering to social distancing guidelines."
The Broncos started the 2020 season with a bang, beating the Cowboys and Rabbitohs before the NRL was brought to a grinding halt.
Seibold knows they have a golden opportunity to go deeper in the season than last year's horror 58-0 loss in the first week of the finals and is confident the players will report for training in good shape.
"We've got a really hungry group," he said.
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"I'm not even going to use the term 'mini pre-season' when we come back. We want to earn the right to get straight back into working on our game and training for footy.
"We trust the guys to do their jobs and they're doing their jobs. They're sending in their sessions.
"We had an extremely thorough preparation and that transferred into our games. You could clearly see we had made significant strides physically and from a footy sense.
"They've only been off for three weeks and they've continued to do three running sessions a week and three-to-four body weight and gym sessions depending on what setup they've got at home.
"I'm really confident with the maturity and growth of the group they'll come back in good shape.
"When we come back I want us to spend 80 per cent of our time with the footy in our hands because we did the hard work from November to February."
The unexpected break has given a number of players time to overcome injuries.
Captain Alex Glenn (hamstring and calf) is back running along with Jordan Kahu (shoulder and calf) while Corey Oates (ribs) and Brodie Croft (shoulder) will be ready to play after being injured in Round 2.
Prop Matt Lodge is on track to be available for the resumption of the season after suffering a potentially serious knee injury during the pre-season.
Fullback Jamayne Isaako was sensational in the opening rounds and said he had been able to stay in shape while in isolation.
"I'm lucky enough to have a home gym in my garage," he said.
"There is a big lawn bowls oval and soccer pitch next door to go once-a-day and do my running.
"Some of the other boys haven't had the opportunity to maintain training because they don't have the equipment. You can only do what you can do.
"I'm lucky to have a gym and park here. I've been practising kicking at the park."
The NRL has scheduled meetings with club chief executives and coaches today (Friday) to provide updates on the season resumption.
Originally published as How the Broncos are preparing for NRL return