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Hasler's hidden lair

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    Hasler's hidden lair

    By James Hooper | October 12, 2008

    THE unassuming demountable office seems to understate the nerve-centre of the Manly Sea Eagles HQ at Narrabeen.

    Put it on crumbling blocks on any building site in Sydney and you've got a makeshift office.

    But the unmistakable insignia on the side of this modest, temporary dwelling gives away its purpose at the Sydney Academy of Sport - the home of the 2008 premiers.

    This is coach Des Hasler's 'under the radar' base, a picturesque complex amid bushland surrounding Narrabeen Lake, 8km north of Manly's spiritual home Brookvale Oval.

    As The Sunday Telegraph discovered on Thursday, it's a compound Hasler doesn't want anyone prying around without warning.

    Just 86 hours after the Sea Eagles had been crowned premiers at ANZ Stadium, we organised a tour through the Academy of Sport.

    The brief was simple enough. Go inside the NSW government-owned, tax payer-funded northern beaches complex where Manly have metamorphosed from finishing 13th (2004), to eighth (2005), to sixth (2006) to second (2007) to NRL champions. Explore the facilities. Write a story.

    Everything was progressing smoothly as two staff from the academy walked us around the gymnasium, the sports science room, the ovals and then the outdoor ropes circuit - until we stopped by the Sea Eagles offices to say hello to Hasler.

    Not happy. After we offered a congratulatory handshake and introduced our photographer, Hasler demanded to know why he hadn't been told we were coming.

    "Where have you been?'' Hasler asked. We reasoned we had arranged the visit through the Academy of Sport - who manage the facility - but Hasler wanted no truck with it.

    What seemed to be causing the premiership-winning coach most angst was the fact we had been escorted through the sports science room - supposedly a deeply-guarded Sea Eagles secret.

    To be frank, it was underwhelming. It looked more like a bunch of old-school props out of a 1970s James Bond flick than the latest cutting-edge technology.

    We were greeted by Academy of Sport analyst Phil Riddington, who proceeded to explain the surrounding equipment.

    To the naked eye, it appeared like any other gymnasium.

    A rowing ergometer, a treadmill that has clocked more than 100,000km and a stationary bicycle _ and what looked like an old deep freezer with some oversized red, green and yellow buttons on the top of it.

    This is where things got interesting. There were three gas cylinders and an oxygen mask, and a computer you could hook up to the treadmill, which then measures the VO2 max or lung capacity of an athlete.

    Riddington proceeded to tell us a variety of stories about all sorts of elite athletes the academy has done testing on.

    The Australian 2004 women's eight rowing team from Athens would train in 28C heat surrounded by rubbish bins in every corner so they could strategically vomit, then get back on the machines.

    Skiers and cyclists would push themselves to the point of collapse, when the academy staff would have to intervene and press an emergency button to stop the treadmill.

    The athletes would often just fall off the side of the machine and collapse, Riddington said.
    Some Manly players had pushed themselves to this sort of limit.

    The Sea Eagles players are tested using the sports science equipment every six to 12 weeks, allowing the club to work out the lung capacity, leg speed and leg-power ratio for each player.

    Essentially, the club can tune to the minute how long each player is capable of running at optimum fitness levels, hence time to the second when they are fatiguing and should be replaced during a match.

    There's no question this is a competitive advantage but hardly the secret calves' blood or Lact-away Manly's physiologist Steve Dank is said to have the Sea Eagles using.

    Hasler has done a great job developing Manly into the club it is today. His attention to detail is a hallmark. But trying to stop the media from doing a tour of a tax-payer funded, NSW government-owned facility - which numerous other athletes have access to - seems a little over the top.
    Hidden treasure ... This is the facility that Manly coach Des Hasler wants to keep away from the public eye / The Sunday Telegraph
  2. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

    +516 /14
    It would be no different at any school or hospital (witness the recent furore in Victoria about that photographer allowed to trawl through a school looking for suitable child models.)

    If we're paying rent we have every right to restrict access to our intellectual capital.


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