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Secrets that give top teams the edge over rivals

Discussion in 'Sea Eagles' started by ManlyBacker, Aug 31, 2012.

By ManlyBacker on Aug 31, 2012 at 6:50 AM
  1. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

    +972 /7
    At half-time in the match against Wests Tigers at Bluetongue Stadium, Manly five-eighth Kieran Foran was shown on the Channel Nine coverage looking closely at a laptop in the Sea Eagles dressing room.

    It is the latest example of how NRL clubs are using sports science and technology to gain an advantage over their rivals - and there is no coincidence that the leading teams off the field are also the top performing ones on it.
    Manly and Melbourne have traditionally led the way in those areas, and this year the other teams in the top four, Canterbury and South Sydney, are catching up under new coaches Des Hasler and Michael Maguire - a former assistant to Craig Bellamy at the Storm.
    What Foran was looking at on the laptop was footage from the first half that had been edited by Sea Eagles analyst Simon Healey to show him why certain moves hadn't come off or weaknesses in the Tigers defence that could be exploited.

    Manly are among a number of clubs that use software developed by iOn Sport that enables coaching staff to review vision from the game's broadcasters or their own fixed cameras while a match is in progress so they can adjust their tactics.
    ''It is basically an extension of the coach sitting up in the box sending down a message to the sideline - now he can do that with a little more intelligence to back it up,'' iOn Sport director Will Badel said.
    ''He can say to the player, 'You know that shape that we ran at training? Come and have a look at this.'''
    Badel said a number of other clubs either had the software or would soon be getting it, and there is little doubt the Storm, Bulldogs and Rabbitohs are among them.
    The clubs and coaches are reluctant to talk about what they do to gain an edge over their opponents but anyone who visits Manly's Narrabeen training complex or Canterbury headquarters at Belmore Oval can see cameras erected on poles.
    The Sea Eagles under Hasler were notorious for their secrecy, with the windows of the team's gym blacked out so outsiders could not see equipment the club used, such as altitude chambers.
    The Herald revealed Manly's use of calves' blood in 2008, and this year Bulldogs players have been drinking shots of beetroot juice before matches.
    ''Everyone is looking for an edge, whether it be the cows' blood thing or statistical analysis or other high-performance areas, and they are very secretive about it because the minute you advertise it to everyone you haven't got the edge any more,'' one club official said. ''For years and years, the Broncos had the edge because Wayne Bennett had that statistical information that every club has got now exclusively in Brisbane before it even got out to anyone else.''
    During Bennett's three-year reign at St George Illawarra, the Dragons formed a relationship with the sports science department at Wollongong University, and Souths have recently formed an association with Sydney University.
    Under Maguire, the Rabbitohs recruited former Storm and Melbourne Rebels high-performance manager Troy Thomson, and Souths players have regularly paid tribute to him this season for either getting them back on the field sooner than expected after injury or ensuring they are fitter than in previous seasons.
    ''We always wear GPS vests at training so you can see all the kilometres we clock up,'' five-eighth John Sutton said. ''Troy Thomson is really good with all that stuff. He looks after us and makes sure we get everything we need to do our job out on the field and to recover.
    ''A few of the boys used to lose weight during the season but 'Thommo' said that is just all bull****. He said you can still keep weight on and keep your strength, and I think I have put on two or three kilos from last season.
    ''Most of the boys have kept their weight on during the season so he is really smart in that way, and he has really got us all prepared well.''



Discussion in 'Sea Eagles' started by ManlyBacker, Aug 31, 2012.

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