How I'll turn Brisbane Broncos into warhorses, reveals performance boss Alex Corvo
January 28, 2014 12:00AM
BRISBANE performance boss Alex Corvo, one of the coaches behind Melbourne Storm's decade of dominance, is on a mission to turn the Broncos into warhorses.
Having noted the evolution of the NRL's superstars into 80-minute performers and Brisbane's sequence of second-half collapses last year, the Broncos' pre-season focus has been on preparing stayers.
Head coach Anthony Griffin and Corvo have made it painfully clear during conditioning sessions they are less concerned with size of players' biceps than they are in big-hearted finishers who can use their superior fitness to execute match-winning plays.
The emphasis, according to the head of performance, is on preparing combinations who can deliver repeat power efforts until the death.
"You don't want them just going through the motions. You want a group in those (last) five minutes who are capable of an extraordinary effort," Corvo said.
"If that effort's below your best it's probably not going to be a match-winning one.
"More and more games are going to be in the balance up until the very end.
"The teams who win those close games, it's not a coincidence.
"They're the ones who are better prepared, better structured and have a plan for those minutes."
The Broncos' second-half fade-outs contributed heavily to last season's 12th-placed finish.
Fox Sports statistics show Brisbane scored just 198 second-half points while leaking 263 at the other end.
Fightbacks were rare as the Broncos won just twice from the 13 matches in which they trailed or were level at half-time.
The game's elite have proved they can strike as powerfully in the final minute as they did in the first.
Cameron Smith, Paul Gallen and Corey Parker are perfect examples of players who can deliver long and productive stints in the middle of the field.
"Some coaches are looking for players capable of playing long bursts at high quality," said Corvo who promises to be the club's most influential recruit after several seasons in Melbourne.
"They're more likely to keep players on who are being more effective during the game.
"We look for backrowers capable of playing halves of footy, not needing to be interchanged.
"And there's an expectation, if you're a middle forward, of playing (at least) 20 minutes.
"If you're not capable of 20 minutes of high intensity footy you're a bit of a passenger.
"It means some one else has to play more minutes."
The Broncos have been enduring more running and longer sessions over summer as they gallop towards next month's trials and the season-opener against the Bulldogs on March 7.
There is, however, some comfort for the less athletic footballers in the squad.
"There's also room for pure footballers," Corvo said.
"If you recruited purely on physical capabilities, Cameron Smith, the best player in the competition, probably wouldn't be an NRL player
"If he was at the Magic Millions you probably wouldn't have bought him as a colt, but he has other qualities."