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Strongest, fastest, fittest

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    Strongest, fastest, fittest

    Adrian Proszenko | February 17, 2008


    NRL clubs are putting players through torture to help them reach maximum potential, writes Adrian Proszenko.
    ALBERT HOPOATE is the strongest man in rugby league.
    Despite being away from the game for two years as a Mormon missionary, Hopoate is set to follow in the footsteps of big brother John, who was one of the NRL's most powerful players.
    The Sun-Herald contacted all 16 clubs to determine the strongest, fittest and fastest men in the game. Of the teams that charted players' maximum bench presses during the pre-season, Hopoate came out on top with a one-repetition lift of 180 kilograms.
    The mark, matched by exciting Parramatta prospect Tony Williams, who is about 10kg heavier than Hopoate, means the Roosters have provided league's strongest man for consecutive years after Chris Beattie took the honour last season. Hopoate's effort is all the more remarkable considering he returned from his work at 122kg. He has since shed 24kg but hasn't played a game in three years.
    "It takes its toll and I had to prepare my body to come back to football, it's been a long way back," Hopoate told The Sun-Herald. "My desire is there, I'm hungrier than I've ever been. Since I've come back from my mission, I had to start from scratch again."
    The comparisons with footballer-turned-boxer John, one of the most infamous characters in the NRL, are inevitable. While the younger "Hoppa" credits John as his inspiration, the 22-year-old centre describes himself as "more relaxed".
    "Me and my brother have the same game, it's just I'm a lot smarter than him - hopefully better looking, as well," Hopoate said. "A lot of people see the villain in him but the only thing I see is a role model. I'm a lot more relaxed than my brother.
    "You can tell by the way he plays he's a real rough person."
    Asked if he is even the strongest in the family, Hopoate quipped: "[John] would probably bash me but I'm stronger than him."
    Sharks captain Paul Gallen is another of league's big lifters, completing two bench repetitions of 170kg. Other notable performers were Canberra prop Michael Weyman (165kg, two reps), Dragons pair Kirk Reynoldson and Dan Hunt (165kg, once) and Gold Coast forward James Stosic (160kg, three reps).
    At Penrith, last year's benchmark has become this season's minimum.
    In an attempt to climb off the bottom of the ladder, the Panthers have set high requirements.Everyone must be able to bench 1½ times their weight; clean and jerk their weight; and also full squat/dead-lift twice their weight.

    And while several clubs have long held strongman contests, the Panthers have taken it to a new level. Panthers strength and conditioning coach Carl Jennings ordered in logs weighing more than 300kg - "the lorry almost collapsed" - which the players had to drag five kilometres.
    "Manly stole our idea," Jennings said of his strongman contest. "I saw them on TV carrying logs, their logs are nothing like the logs I've got."
    The Tigers held a strongman contest of their own, which Chris Heighington won. The big forward also topped the chin-ups/dips challenge, after bodyweight was factored in.
    But these numbers take some beating - Beau Ryan and Tim Moltzen did 34 chins, while Robbie Farah made 35 dips. However, Bronson Harrison is rated the Tigers' best athlete.
    While traditional squat and press exercises still comprise an important part of lower body work-outs for some clubs, many now use other measures - such as vertical jumping power - to gauge performance.
    At the Eels, Krisnan Inu stands out.
    "The team will do an exercise in the gym where you need to double leg jump up onto a high box and make a controlled landing," physical performance manager Hayden Knowles explained. "Some guys do it comfortably, some guys just make it.
    "Krisnan will say: 'Hey H, watch this …' followed by jumping on one leg and doing a 180-degree turn in the air before landing controlled on one leg.
    "Krisnan Inu is one of the most athletic guys you will see train."
    The Bulldogs have experienced the off-season from hell, but it's not all bad news at Belmore. Sonny Bill Williams has had his best pre-season and is among the club's strongest. The Kiwi superstar, with fellow forward Charlie Leaeno, has been setting new marks.
    Williams presses 140kg (three reps) and his skinfold level is at 44, much lower than the club average (70). He's also just behind Leon Bott and Luke Patten in the speed stakes.
    "He's done a greater percentage of the program than he's done before," Bulldogs strength and conditioning coach Scott Campbell said.
    The Sea Eagles will be a bigger team in 2008. In just three months, the squad has consumed 100 4kg tubs of protein, resulting in weight gains of 3-7kg per player.
    The Titans have also bulked up while reducing body fat.
    The forwards have packed on up to 7kg, and even lightweights Scott Prince (3kg) and Mat Rogers (2kg) have added kilos.
    Melbourne's Antonio Kaufusi is at the other end of the scale, stripping 12kg after returning from his honeymoon at 124kg.
    Several clubs have embraced GPS technology to monitor performance.
    "It's not unusual for us to average 10.6g [force] when we're hitting each other in a training session," Manly's strength and conditioning coach Don Singe said.
    Adrian Proszenko
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    +0 /0
    Jason King is our strongest plarey, Brett Stewart our fastest and Matt ballin our fittest.
  3. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

    +516 /14
    What would you expect from Penrif - "my log is bigger than yours"

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