Manlys GPS banned

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Eagles gadgets off track

March 06, 2006

THE NRL won't allow the Manly Sea Eagles to use revolutionary global positioning satellite technology to monitor players in Telstra Premiership games until they are certain the device is safe.

The Daily Telegraph revealed on Saturday how the Manly Sea Eagles have been secretly using GPS locators the size of a small mobile phone strapped to players' backs during pre-season training.

Manly elite performance staff and coach Des Hasler monitor the players' every step, speed and direction, heartrates and the force of gravity they feel in tackles and on-field collisions.

It has taken a lot of guesswork out of designing training and recovery sessions to give Manly a competitive edge and help reduce the risk of injury.

Despite its enormous benefits, GPS technology, which has been embraced by AFL clubs, cannot be used in official NRL games until the league gives its stamp of approval.

NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley told The Daily Telegraph the league was not against the introduction of new technology such as GPS units.

However, the NRL was concerned about the potential risk of injury to players while wearing a GPS locator strapped to their backs between the shoulder blades over the spine.

"Obviously there's a safety issue," Annesley said. "But GPS technology is not specifically against our rules.

"What we do have in our rules is that players can't wear any item of non-standard equipment like shoulder pads without getting the approval of the NRL.

"We would make that decision based on whether we thought the item was likely to cause any injury if someone made contact with it."

The NRL was completely unaware Manly were using GPS technology in simulated match conditions at training right through their pre-season.

Annesley also said no NRL club was yet to raise the issue of using GPS locators in trial or competition games.
Team P W L PD Pts
13 10 3 97 24
14 10 4 118 22
14 10 4 78 22
13 8 5 66 20
14 8 6 143 18
13 7 6 81 18
13 7 6 -55 18
14 7 6 42 17
14 7 7 37 16
15 8 7 -8 16
14 7 7 -50 16
14 6 7 13 15
14 6 8 -55 14
13 4 9 -126 12
14 4 10 -121 10
13 3 10 -129 10
13 3 10 -131 10
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